Photo of the day

The Pope and Fidel Castro certainly seem like an appopriate shot (from this collection of the Pope’s visit to Cuba) for a Sunday:

Pope Benedict XVI meets former Cuban leader Fidel Castro in Havana, March 28, 2012. (Osservatore Romano/Reuters)

Big picture on health care

A little easy this week to get caught up in arguments about limiting principles, Wickard v. Fillburn, and broccoli, so I especially appreciated this post by Jonathan Cohn that puts this in a bigger picture about what the Court appears to be up to:

Think about that for a second: If the justices strike down the Affordable Care Act, they would be stopping the federal government from pursuing a perfectly constitutional goal via a perfectly constitutional scheme just because Congress and the Preisdent didn’t use perfectly constitutional language to describe it. Maybe labels matter, although case law suggests otherwise. But do they matter enough for the Court to throw out a law that will provide insurance to 30 million people, shore up insurance for many more, and help to manage one-sixth of the American economy? It wouldn’t seem so.

Of course, the conservative justices who would invalidate the Affordable Care Act may not hold the law in especially high regard. Samuel Alito, in particular, suggested during oral argument that he had serious problems with younger, healthier people subsidizing, via their insurance premiums, the medical expenses of older, sicker people—which just happens to be the defining feature of Medicare, Social Security, and every other social insurance scheme on the planet.

Alito is entitled to his opinion about what makes for good legislation. But he’s not entitled to impose that opinion on the country and his colleagues aren’t, either. Their job is to determine whether a law is constitutional, not whether a law is wise. And the more significant the law, the more unambiguous their judgment ought to be.

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