Panic at AARP, Retirement Homes, Bingo Halls. GOP: Joyful, 'Vindicated'
In a staggering decision rippling well beyond the Obama Health Care legislation under review, the Supreme Court today ruled unconstitutional the vast bulk of "the wild, federal over-reaching" spanning the past century. Dumping both 20th C. Constitutional amendments (including women's suffrage and the federal income tax) plus landmark social programs (Social Security, Medicare, Unemployment Insurance, Civil and Voting Rights Plus Obamacare), the High Court dramatized its long-term frustration with "judicial pussyfooting, let alone sending out one more of its impenetrable decisions," in one legal beagle's rendition.
Cognizant this decision induces our worst Constitutional crisis since 1861, the majority 5-4 opinion penned by Justice Antonin Scalia was unapologetic:
When in the course of human events a political system betrays its founding truths, riddled with encrusted contradictions, then national pride, if not survival obliges the best among us to come together and return us to first principles, however severe the reformation. We have endured long enough the 20th Century spectacle of gross violations that turned upside down all legitimate originalist intentions. If the Founders wanted federal income taxes, voting rights bills, or medical giveaways to the needy, they would have found the words. Ditto: women's suffrage or open election of senators. Considering the dismal quality of recent presidents, forbidding the best ones the option of serving a third term violates the spirit of democracy and majority rule.
Veteran court observers were gobsmacked, conceding "entitlements" like Health Care and Medicare were done for. Appearing non-partisan, the court struck down not just federal taxation, science research and space exploration, but corporate farming, mining and oil subsidies, plus housing and poverty support, welfare and unemployment insurance programs. For the first time in months, the President and GOP leaders agreed: a second Constitutional Convention is imperative, though who would set the agenda or attend was not clear.
"No question this here's an A-bomb to federalism, to big spending, liberal over-reach, and the whole, sick, socialist-Kenyan welfare state," chirped Michele Bachmann, top GOP candidate, "Time for tough love, ending oppressive taxation, attacks on church-based moral values, plus endless intrusions on our freedom, like any state's right to criminalize baby killing. Nothing better advances my candidacy, as the most zealously committed to small, hopeless, limited government. My, my, what a miracle -- wiping out the bad 50% of government with the speed of the Rapture."
National Security Unimpaired
The Defense Dept. got off unscathed, as the Court allowed even the most minimalist government must secure borders, both domestic and imperial battle lines. Likewise, Treasury remains, to collect what taxes remain and write checks for military interventions, plus State (for correspondence only) and Justice (to indict whistleblowers and terrorists). Perhaps most shocking of all, the Court "set aside" every 20th C. Constitutional amendment, "suspending them entirely" until unspecified "irregularities" of their approval process, "assuredly abhorrent to the Founders," are repaired. Wholly unclear is whether women will vote in the interim reconstruction period.
A stunned White House still found the bright side, declaring, "At least the Court left untouched our all-important, anti-terrorist wars for freedom, democracy and independence. The commander-in-chief remains fully in charge of deciding which war defends which national security. Some good news against stubbornly high jobless numbers: as we expect this decision to incite violent street protests, that means hiring thousands of guards, police, MPs, and security teams. We believe even Black Swan disruptions have silver livings, bubbling over with audacity of hope and change. We just have to find how this stunning rejection of the federal government fits our 2012 campaign messaging, committed to complete all the systemic reforms we didn't get to in the first go-round. The urgency of now is definitively now."
Rightwing Wet Dream
"What this courageous Court has done is key to our national survival -- clearing the deck," barked GOP spokesman, Senator deMint, "not only shrinking overstuffed government 'to the size of a bathtub' but initiating its very drowning. Nothing less than the great, Biblical flood we've prayed for, cleansing a century of unAmerican socialist thinking through the New Deal, civil rights, even advances, like the EPA, Republicans approved."
"Bring on a new Constitutional Convention," continued deMint, "armed with this new, literalist reading, not unlike true Christians returning to the literal truth of the Bible. Only in politics we call it Constitutional originalism. Let's schedule the Convention in South Carolina, where true Americans live and our GOP controls the state police. No one expects Christian Democracy to be any easier than the discredited, Old World secular brand."
According to NPR's legal affairs correspondent, Nono Totenberry, "the court didn't deny the efficacy of government, nor in theory taxation. As if post-Articles of Confederation, power again resides in states, counties, and cities, free to tax and pass any bizarre laws they want, without federal interference from any FCC, FDA or EPA. This is a breathtaking shift as the authority of the Supreme Court is in its own terms not open to appeal, thus unassailable."
All Bets & Debts are Off
Pundits predicted a focus now well beyond mere debt ceiling worries. If Washington can't collect revenue except for security, America's credit rating is kaput. Interest payments, however, will continue thanks to billions now available from Social Security and Medicare reserves. Federal taxes should fall quickly by 40% tomorrow, though no one knows all the unintended consequences. Died-in-the-wool Southerners wondered outloud if they now could re-litigate perniciously lost states rights after the "war of northern aggression" and the degree to which states can "regulate" how and where minorities live and work.