Ruth Marcus, hardly an ideological conservative, had much the same concerns as I expressed over the president’s remarks yesterday:
I would lament a ruling striking down the individual mandate, but I would not denounce it as conservative justices run amok. Listening to the arguments and reading the transcript, the justices struck me as a group wrestling with a legitimate, even difficult, constitutional question. For the president to imply that the only explanation for a constitutional conclusion contrary to his own would be out-of-control conservative justices does the court a disservice.
Worse, the president’s critique, and in particular the reference to “unelected” judges, buys into an unfortunate and largely unwarranted conservative critique of judicial power. We want our judges unelected. We want them to have the final constitutional say. The president should be arguing for a second term to prevent the court from tipping in an even more conservative direction, not channeling tired critiques from the right about activist judges legislating from the bench.
I also applaud Ms. Marcus’s reasonable reaction to the oral arguments before the Supreme Court. If we don’t agree about the process, our problems go much, much deeper than a strategy for ensuring that Americans have access to healthcare.
If we disagree about the policies, disagree about the process and hate each other, there is only one recourse: divorce. We’ve already tried that once. It didn’t work out well. We should be pressing for a reconciliation, not hardening our positions.