Immoderate Nonsense

by Yuval Levin

If I find myself especially tired on the subway in the morning, I sometimes read New York Times editorials to get the blood going or to get a good laugh. It usually does the trick. This morning’s editorial on the Court’s Obamacare decision was mostly quite predictable, but I certainly did get a laugh out of one particular editorial tick I hadn’t noticed before. At one point, in the course of justifying the essential sophistry of the decision, the Times editors write:

Chief Justice Roberts deserves substantial credit for joining the court’s moderate liberals in finding the mandate constitutional on that basis — and for sparing the country a spasm of outrage.

Did you catch that? He joined “the court’s moderate liberals”? In the next paragraph, the editors describe the Court’s other justices:

But when he summarized his opinion from the bench on Thursday, he explained that he found the individual mandate unconstitutional under the commerce clause — like the four other conservatives whose joint dissent said they would have struck down the law entirely.

So the conservatives are just conservatives but the liberals are moderate liberals. And it’s not just a passing reference. Two paragraphs later, the editors write:

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg answered the chief justice in a dissent on this issue for the four moderate liberals.

So Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a moderate liberal, yet even Anthony Kennedy is simply a conservative. Do these people read their own stuff? Do they actually not know they are a laughingstock?

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