How foolish does the media look now, after weeks of demagoguery, now that the Court has issued two huge victories for the Left in one week? Leftists, you will recall, made outrageous accusations against the Supreme Court—the institution that, since the 1950’s, more than any other, has forced godless nihilism upon our country, and then, following stare decisis, reinforced it—before they even heard these latest cases. Left-wingers like Ezra Klein accused the Court of politicking for Republicans to get them elected; President Obama—a constitutional law professor, as we’ve been reminded a zillion times in the past five years—called striking down a statute “passed with a strong majority” (read: party-line vote passed on reconciliation) “unprecedented.”
Even after a major victory for the statists, centralizers such as the New Yorker, E.J. Dionne, the Atlantic and others made ad hominem attacks on Senior Associate Justice Scalia. His crime? Mentioning the executive branch’s decision not to enforce immigration laws in the context of a case about the executive branch not enforcing immigration laws. How dare he! Even when you lose, you’re not safe if you disagree with leftists.
The thing we conservatives hoped for was to strike down the decision on the terms on which it was offered: as an extension of the commerce clause. But that would have provided little legal bulwark against future government depredations, and would have given untold momentum to President Obama’s reelection; there would’ve been no end of unsubstantiated, heated, over-the-top rhetoric about “judicial activism” and “conservative battering rams.” What Roberts did was, ultimately, much more powerful and—dare I say it—much more conservative:
By exercising judicial restraint, he set an important model for the humility the Court should feel in the face of the people’s will exercised in elections, and their elected officials in Congress. In effect, though, he has handed back BHO an incoherent mess of sophistry where the president once thought he had a “signature and historic domestic legislation.”