Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Justice Ginsburg's Federal Deference

    While reading through Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's concurrence on the recent ObamaCare ruling, I was struck by her willingness to attribute pure and unencumbered motives to the federal government while repeatedly all but accusing the states of whining and holding their collective breath (emphasis mine in following):
Far from trampling on States’ sovereignty, the ACA attempts a federal solution for the very reason that the States, acting separately, cannot meet the need. Notably, the ACA serves the general welfare of the people of the United States while retaining a prominent role for the States. (page 36) 
Although Congress “has no obligation to use its Spending Clause power to disburse funds to the States,” College Savings Bank v. Florida Prepaid Postsecondary Ed. Expense Bd., 527 U. S. 666, 686 (1999), it has provided Medicaid grants notable for their generosity and flexibility. (page 45) 
That is what makes this such a simple case, and the Court’s decision so unsettling. Congress, aiming to assist the needy, has appropriated federal money to subsidize state health-insurance programs that meet federal standards.  (page 48)
THE CHIEF JUSTICE calls the ACA new, but in truth, it simply reaches more of America’s poor than Congress originally covered. Medicaid was created to enable States to provide medical assistance to “needy persons.” (page 48)
In short, given §1304, this Court’s construction of §1304’s language in Bowen, and the enlargement of Medicaid in the years since 1965,23 a State would be hard put to complain that it lacked fair notice when, in 2010, Congress altered Medicaid to embrace a larger portion of the Nation’s poor. (Page 56) 
For goodness sake, the federal government only wants to help!  These so-called sovereign states have got quite a bit of nerve even questioning the benevolence of their older (and much larger and stronger) cousin, much less filing suit.  As I noted before, and as Simon and Garfunkel once put it, the federal government only wants to help us learn to help ourselves.  You know, they'd "like to know a little bit about" us for their files.  That sort of thing.  Would that we all had Ginsburg's faith in government's benevolent nature.  On the other hand, not even the Founders had that, and they wrote the Constitution and established the Supreme Court to allow The People to protect themselves.  So how's that working out?

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