Skip to comments.Justices to lawyers: Don't make us read the law
Posted on 03/28/2012 12:09:24 PM PDT by Sub-Driver
Justices to lawyers: Don't make us read the law
By: Politico Staff March 28, 2012 02:22 PM EDT
So much for read the bill.
Three days into oral arguments over President Barack Obamas health care law, Supreme Court justices made a plea to the lawyers Wednesday: Please dont make us read it.
Justice Antonin Scalia cut in when Deputy Solicitor General Edwin Kneedler said the justices would need to look at the structure and the text of the 2,700-page law .
Mr. Kneedler, what happened to the Eighth Amendment? Scalia asked a joking reference to the Constitutions prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. You really want us to go through these 2,700 pages?
And do you really expect the court to do that? Or do you expect us to to give this function to our law clerks? Is this not totally unrealistic? That we are going to go through this enormous bill item by item and decide each one?"
Taking a swipe at the courts textualists, Justice Elena Kagan said the court could dispense with the legislative history and look at the text thats actually given us.
For some people, we look only at the text, she said. It should be easy for Justice Scalia's clerks.
I don't care whether it's easy for my clerks, Scalia said to laughs. I care whether it's easy for me.
Although read the bill was a rallying cry on the right during the congressional fight over the law, Chief Justice John Roberts seemed to acknowledge Wednesday that he hadnt done so himself.
Where is this line? he asked Kneedler at one point. I looked through the whole Act, I didn't read ...
(Excerpt) Read more at politico.com ...
Even mockery from the bench! I hope it is a train wreck, indeed.
A vast majority of the House and the Senate didn’t read the entire law, our lazy President didn’t read the entire law and now the Justices are not reading the entire law. This suggests to me that unelected legislative staffers are running this country.
I have a hard time understanding anyone supporting a law that congress didn't read, the senate didn't read,the president didn't read, and the supreme court didn't read. Somebody read the blasted thing already!
The ‘Center For American Progress” is. My understanding is that they wrote much of it, along with Max Baucus. Anyone know who the REAL authors are? I can’t believe the Google searches.
This is actually a sad admission that justices can’t be bothered to read and understand that which they are adjudicating. One would think that familiarizing themselves with the subject matter of their concern would be part of the job description, all 2700 pages worth. That’s why they get paid the big bucks.
If the Supreme court justices read it, they will be the first humans on the face of the earth to have done so.
I would wager that NO ONE has EVER read the thing cover to cover... So, if no one else ever has, why make the Justices read it!!
It will be overlooked, however, that neither did Obama, Reid, Pelosi nor any one of the 535 Congress members who voted on it.
Coming soon to a news medium near you.
Kagan knows that if she can persuade them to read the entire thing this ruling won’t be issued till 2017
Remember it was San Fran Nan who said, “We have to pass the bill to see what’s in it.” This is the height of irresponsibility. I hate these people. They should all be forced to eat it, page by page.
The media is jealous of it’s greatest achievement:
A law that was passed without ever having been read by anyone.
This is one time when they need to throw out the baby and the bathwater. The whole bill is a POS.
I wish I could figure out how a major piece of legislation gets voted on and signed into legislation, and now challenged in multiple courts, and yet NO ONE HAS READ IT!
Why read the whole thing? If I'm on the Court, as soon as I find anything unconstitutional, there's no reason to read any further. My job is done.
i just hope America is watching this disaster. Obamacare and it’s namesake.
I wish someone of high authority would read the dang bill just to point out how treasonous, unconstitutional and illegal it really is. I would like people to know what their progressive/communist/liberal lawmakers tried to pull on them.
Mark Levin claims to have read it. A person familiar with legaleze should be able to skim it in a week or two.
Sounds like somebody suggested to Scalia that grokking this puppy’s alleged virtue would require an appreciation of the whole glorious mess.
The court can rule on the major points of the legislation without reading all the minutia.
One of the libs on the bench, ginsberg I believe, said something to the effect they either have to strike it or see if parts can be salvaged. To me that says at a minimum part goes down 6 to 3. If it is not severable, in part because it is unintelligible, then the whole thing goes and there is morning in America again as the dark evening will have passed.
I bet little bammy is regretting his SOTU smart-azz remarks to the court as well.
But this thing gets even BETTER...
Still, Breyer seemed to take a shot at Scalia for suggesting that reading the law would be too much of a burden for the court.
We can't reject or accept an argument on severability because it's a lot of work for us, Breyer said.
But then he asked Kneedler if maybe he and Clement could get together, go through the law and come up with a list of what should stay and what should go.
Little bammy's commie care is a TOTAL disaster no matter who reads it?
Well, I guess they’re addressing a specific legal challenge. So it’s probably up to the lawyer arguing against the bill to point out the parts he’s objecting to. And it would be up to the defense to point to any other parts which might counter those claims. It’s not like they’re just handing the bill to the justices and asking them to read it and come back later to explain everything they did or didn’t like about it.
If they rule incorrectly, then someone who has read all if it can appeal. The have to strike it down to find out what's in it.
The House got the bill 3 hours before being forced to vote on it.
Shoot, we might even respect Barack Obama more if HE would do that.
This is legislation by hearsay, the way the laws have gotten so impossibly turgid (but even among those laws, Obamacare walks away with first prize).
The problem before the USSC seems simple enough however. It is alleged that this law is 1% “We will unconstitutionally screw you” and 99% “these are the impossibly grotty details about how.” Not even Scalia should have to suffer through trying to get a masterful understanding about the 99%.
They have to overturn it to find out what’s in it.
How can anyone read the entire law when they are adding to it every day.
The justices don't have to read the legislation letter by letter if the premis is it's very existence is, or major elements of it are unconstitutional.
Courts normally don’t singlehandedly generate actions on cases before them, but choose between competing motions and arguments by the parties disputing these cases. What this means is that pro-Obamacare people can’t just blithely tell the justices to throw the whole mess against the wall and admire what might seem to stick. No those people have to argue for it, all 2700 pages or whatever, if they really think it’s such an admirable beast. The opponents only have to point out what’s wrong.
I do not think the founders ever envisioned that the entire U.S. Code would encompass 2,700 typed pages (or the equivalent in parchment.)
We would be better off if all Federal laws fit on no more than 500 pages. Every time a page is added, one must be removed.
It is totally unrealistic to expect anyone to completely absorb and comprehend 2,700 pages of law in a lifetime, let alone a session. The law is unenforceable on its face, as being completely incomprehensible.
The members of Congress that passed this didn't read it themselves, nor did they actually write it.
If it's required the the SC justices comprehensively read what they're adjudicating, but not that Congress do the same for what they're voting on, Congress can pass anything they want and keep the SC from overturning it by paying people to write enough verbiage into it that it simply becomes impossible for someone to read it all.
The unelected legislative staffers just rotate employment and allegiance from election to election. K St. lobbyists and think tanks author the legislation and feed it to the staffers.
Actually they do NOT have to read the entire Act to determine whether it or any part of it is constitutional.
If the mandate is unconstitutional, the entire Act is unconstitutional because the Act does not make the mandate severable.
I get it now, Obama’s plan all along was to get a couple of the conservative justices to retire early by sending 2,700 pages of liberal claptrap over to them and telling them they have to read it.
What is sad, no disgusting, no sinister, is that 1 law gets written that is 2700 pages long.
so... congress won’t read the bill... the supreme court won’t read the bill...
yet I’M supposed to PAY for it and LIVE by it
The first two parties should be reading the bill, but the Justices only need to review the bits under question.
It's not like they have line item veto rights. I am not a lawyer, but I think it's up to both sides presenting to highlight the relevant bits to their arguments, not for the Judges to have to use telepathy to see what the argument is.
There are flaws in this system, that if the plaintiff doesn't get the argument right, the plaintiff might be in the right and still lose. There is no responsibility on the part of the Judges to correct either sides presentation of their case. That's not to say that Kagan and the other leftists won't do so when they start discussing this behind closed doors.
It is actually much harder to understand than just reading 2700 pages. That is because much of the text of the law consists of making changes to OTHER laws that it merely references by statute number.
For example, it might say: "Subsection C, paragraph 5, hereby modifies USC 18 Section 3, subsection D, paragraph 8 by striking the word "and" and substituting the word "or"."
So unless you go read the other law that is being modified (which may consist of numerous pages in and of itself), you have absolutely no idea what this clause means or does. Now multiply that by the thousands of times this occurs in the bill, and you begin to get an idea of the complexity of the problem.
We have to pass the bill to see whats in it.
As I’ve said before, “It’s just like a stool sample!”
POST OF THE DAY.
So no one's noticed yet that pages 1350-2200 were written by an automatic internet spam text generator?
I don't do with the landing-place made uncomfortable by hand to him, staring drearily at nought -- all right. Wishing to Miss Havisham's to-morrow morning after slowly search- ing on his leg. A little world in his head over the dinner, consisting of me upside down, and using the marshes with Joe good-night, and a boy.' `With this bleak place overgrown with no doubt of the edge of the leg of reason, religion, and that door to look at his nose and at all, as if Joe looked at these things, seems to sleep I told manner in the instrument.
`Show us home at eight by hand. The sergeant and a frightful chotus; Biddy leading the mud and indeed it was busy apprenticed to me, and nob,' returned the top bar, `rendering unto all the river, still gasped, `He had a penknife from him not being sensible of the dog's way with his arms -- murder me,' returned Mr Wopale's great-aunt, who held a dozen soldiers opened the time I broke out on in the psalm -- and quite un- animously set expression -- clasping himself, as if they challenged, hears nothin' all on the motion with his grey jacket.
Don't look now, but that's exactly what's been happening with this law. Hopeless quantities of ridiculous verbiage is what this already is. I think that's Scalia's point.
More to the point, if the people who VOTED for it didn’t read it, they can’t stand on the legislative history to argue that it’s constitutional!
severability implies modularity. lack of severability does not guarantee modularity. it tends to imply a lack of modularity, deliberate or otherwise.
the liberals who wrote the bill should have forseen the challenge to portions of the bill. they should not be permitted to heap the responsibility on the courts to modularize something for which there was no modularization requirement to begin with. that would require the justices to become (omygosh) legislators.
And yet....I just heard Sen John F Kerry on the radio stating the standard talking point that we would love it once we understood it!
Apparently NO ONE wants to read it, and I’ll bet even if you did, it wouldn’t be understandable, let alone acceptable.
Anyone else think that admitting they didn’t read it will make it a lot harder for them to uphold it? If they did, they’re in the same position as Congress. “We didn’t read it but we’re going to assume everything’s fine.” I would at least predict that any justice who implies they have or will read the whole thing is definitely going to uphold it.
Appeal to whom? It’s the SUPREME COURT.
assuming the law going down in total, this means kagan and sotomayor are exposed as unqualified.