It was only a few weeks ago that liberals were cheering Chief Justice John Roberts for standing up for judicial independence and declaring the justice system utterly free from the partisan biases that so many Americans claim to see in recent decisions. They relished in Roberts’ rebuke of President Trump, who sneered at the “Obama judge” that froze his executive order on denying asylum to migrants who cross the border illegally.
Many an op-ed writer used Roberts’ words as an excuse to engage in a wholesale defense of all those terrible anti-Trump, Resistance-laden decisions that have been handed down since the president took office. No judicial activism here, no sirrree. Just great, upstanding judges upholding the law in the face of a tyrant king in the White House. Beautiful stuff.
Oh, but look how quickly the tables turn.
When U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor declared that the Affordable Care Act, minus an individual mandate of more than $0, could not be considered a tax and could therefore not be constitutional under the law, the left finally realized that, hey, waitaminute, not every decision that comes down the pike is correct and holy merely because it was delivered by someone wearing a black robe. All of a sudden, they were decrying judicial activism along with all the dirty, unwashed Trump supporters! How fascinating.
We’re not legal experts, but this decision is an odd one. We happen to agree with most of the liberal commentators who point out that Judge O’Connor could have easily divorced the individual mandate-strikedown without throwing out the entire ACA. Don’t get us wrong, there are very good, very sound reasons to get rid of Obamacare. But we’re not in love with the idea of using the court system to do that, especially when the reasoning is as apparently flimsy as it was here. Let’s put it this way: If this were the kind of reasoning used to strike down a Trump-supported piece of legislation, we would not be happy.
But it’s funny that all these court-worshippers who have relished every last obscene judgement against this administration are suddenly up in a tizzy because it happened to them. If O’Connor’s ruling is a clear example of a partisan decision, it is certainly no more so than all of those decisions against the travel ban. Certainly no more so than those decisions against the administration’s position on sanctuary cities. Certainly no more so than those decisions against Trump’s actions at the border. At least in this case, the judge has SOME justification for his ruling other than…durr, I don’t like it.