Our Quote of the Day comes from First Read which says: brace yourselves for another 5 to 4 Supreme Court decision. Yesterday’s hearings at the Supreme Court certainly seemed to suggest that what may be coming is a rerun of Bush versus Gore — another decisions that partisans on one side will point to as an example of a decision influenced by partisan preferences rather than totally on law:
*** Brace yourself for another 5-4 decision: Yesterday’s oral arguments at the Supreme Court raised the distinct possibility that the individual mandate — and perhaps the entire health-care law — could be decided by another controversial 5-4 decision. Such an outcome, especially after other 5-4 decisions like Bush vs. Gore and Citizens United, would have two potential consequences. One, it would feed the perception that the U.S. Supreme Court is as partisan as Congress and increasing parts of the media; in other words, these nine justices (either trained at liberal law schools or members of the conservative Federalist Society) are essentially political actors wearing black robes. And two and most importantly, a 5-4 decision would satisfy no one. If the court strikes down the mandate and the health-care law by that narrow margin, liberals and Democrats would blame it on the conservative justices. If the mandate and law are upheld by a 5-4 decision, conservatives would point their fingers at the liberals and the unpredictable “mushy” swing justice, Anthony Kennedy. That’s the problem with a split decision: The losers would feel like they lost on a political technicality, not because there was a legal consensus.
That would not be a surprise. Our politics in the 21st century on so many fronts is about one side trying to politically dominate the other, then giving highly visible high fives when they win to celebrate their victory — and rub the other side’s face in it. It isn’t pretty. And, in past centuries, this wasn’t all that made up American politics. What’s different now is that you can almost imagine Supreme Court justices on each side giving high fives.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.