Americans have lost confidence in their institutions. They don’t trust the church, Congress, the President, their political parties, the media, the police, business, or for that matter, the Supreme Court as much as they used to in previous years.
If you want to understand why that is, the way John Roberts handled the Obamacare decision is a microcosm of the problem we have all across our society. At this point, it appears what happened was that Roberts agreed with the other three conservative justices and Anthony Kennedy that Obamacare is unconstitutional. But, after thinking about it a bit, he took off his conservative jurist’s hat and started thinking about the reputation of the court. If the justices struck down Obamacare, even though they were just doing their jobs, Democrats would be furious with them. The press would attack them non-stop. Liberals would smear the court. So, Roberts latched on to the perfectly ridiculous idea that the individual mandate is a tax — and it is perfectly ridiculous. The Democrats steadfastly denied it is a tax when they were pushing it through Congress, they deny it now, and if it was a tax, by law the Supreme Court shouldn’t be able to even consider the law until 2014. Although most people are accepting the court’s decision that the mandate is a tax, Roberts’ reasoning is a bad joke and everyone knows it.
So what was the impact of that decision that Roberts likely made with an eye towards protecting the court’s reputation? According to Rasmussen, Republicans Have Turned Against John Roberts and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Americans’ opinions of U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts are now much more negative than they were seven years ago, with the most recent reading coming soon after he joined the four Democratic appointees on the court to uphold the U.S. healthcare law. Republicans’ favorable rating of Roberts is down 40 percentage points from 2005, while Democrats’ is up 19.
…Mirroring their shift in views of Chief Justice Roberts, Republicans have become much more negative about the Supreme Court since last September. Democrats have become more positive. Twenty-nine percent of Republicans now approve of the court’s job performance, down from 50%, while disapproval has doubled to 64% from 32%. Democrats’ attitudes flipped in the opposite direction, with approval rising to 68% from 46%. Independents’ attitudes have stayed roughly the same, as have the views of all Americans combined.
Incidentally, “roughly the same” means the SCOTUS has moved from a 46/40 approval rating to a 46/45 rating. So, even “roughly the same” is a negative overall.
The problem with Roberts is the same issue you see over and over with institutions across the country. Instead of just doing a job with integrity, everybody wants to be a public relations whiz.
The job of the Supreme Court is to play umpire. It’s supposed to interpret laws and make sure the law of the land is constitutional. The same goes for the court system. Whom you know isn’t supposed to play a role. Politics isn’t supposed to be involved. Decisions should be relatively similar no matter what judge hears the case. Yet, we’ve gotten to a point where it’s sometimes economic sense just to sue people with deep pockets because it may be cheaper for them to settle than it is for them to beat you in court — and that’s if you don’t lose despite doing everything right. Where’s the justice in that?
Speaking of justice, if you have something stolen, do you trust the police to make a good faith effort to find the crook and get it back? If someone you love is killed, are you certain the police are going to be slaving away late at night trying to figure out who killed her? Probably not. The Republican Party is supposed to be the party of fiscal responsibility, law and order, ethical reform, and adult governance. Does it live up to that reputation? The Democrats want to be thought of as the better-living-through-government party. How competent is the federal government at doing anything that the military isn’t involved in? It’s a gang of buffoons.
What about the churches? How many pastors in this country are willing to stand up for Christianity if it makes someone mad? Not many. How many businesses are capitalists when things are going well and socialists who want government hand-outs and illegal alien labor everyone else has to pay for when things are going badly? Don’t talk about the market when things are going well and then demand the government give you other people’s tax dollars because you made some dumb business decisions. The media is even worse. Most members of the media bill themselves as unbiased straight shooters, but they act like employees of the Democratic Party. You’d have to be a fool to trust most of what you read in the New York Times or Washington Post about politics.
That gets back to the point. Want to be respected? Want the American people to have a high opinion of you?
Then be the organization that actually does what it’s supposed to do and does it with integrity.