It’s over. The U.S. Supreme Court signed off on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
But in a twist ripped from the pages of a “Law & Order” script, the Supremes ruled the mandate out of bounds while endorsing the Congressional authority over taxation.
The sudden reclassification not only confused a couple of major news networks, but both presidential camps, who still wrestle with the syntax. Look for this war over words to last the rest of the campaign. But as distressing as this ruling might be for all of us, I’m much more concerned about the bigger picture and the historical integrity of the Court itself.
I know it’s why Chief Justice John Roberts flipped at the last minute and backed the liberal majority. He knew this ruling was as much about the Court itself as anything – or anyone – else. And while his last-minute conversion is certainly curious – if not outright suspect – I certaintly respect his ability to look beyond politics.
But what bothers me even more than the legal game of Twister Roberts played to get from Point A to Point B back to A again is the steady stream of unnamed sources running their mouths about what went on in chambers over the last several months. So now even the Supreme Court has leaks?
Is nothing sacred anymore?
I know this sounds odd coming from a journalist – I should be eating this up, right? – but all those stories that trickled out after the ruling made me sick to my stomach.
Maybe it was the middle school, gossipy vibe of the tales of the other conservatives “not talking” to Roberts now. Or the pedestrian tone of the bit about the chief justice writing most of both the majority and dissenting opinions.
Or maybe it was my own loss of innocence at watching the last federal branch fall from above the fray into the muddy pit of political hyper-partisanship with the rest of us.
Call me a civics geek or historical sentimentalist, but it’s kind of heartbreaking.
I feel like a kid whose childhood hero just got busted in a hooker ring or payola scheme. So they’re really just like the rest of us, huh? The Court’s always been almost sacrosanct, but now it looks like they’re as shallow and self-serving as everyone else in the Beltwaty. Trust me.
I don’t need one more reminder of our perpetual news cycle, an audience that never sleeps and social media that passes for journalism. The media beast needs to be fed. And it’s never enough. I guess I just thought some things remained beyond the reach of the gossip pages of The Huffington Post.