“Corruption” is a strong word. It’s one of those strong English words that really means something. It’s not a wimpy word at all. When we speak of something or someone being corrupt, it’s not necessary to say how corrupt. The word itself carries sufficient essence to convey the reality we seek to express. In fact, to say that someone is “very corrupt” seems almost silly because the word carries such force and gravity. It is derived from the Latin verb corrumpere, meaning “to destroy,” or “to spoil.” The idea of corruption can be applied in a moral or in a material sense, but in each case it signifies the deterioration of something that was once beautiful: integrity, goodness, or even physical beauty. Corruption is the playground of rot. It marks the feasting of maggots.
For three days this week the Supreme Court heard arguments concerning the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as “Obamacare.” Never mind the fact that Solicitor General Don Verrilli at times sounded like a bumbling idiot. Never mind the fact that the administration is prepared to argue that Obamacare’s penalties upon those who don’t buy insurance is a tax or not a tax, depending upon the audience being duped at any given moment. And never mind the fact that even the “swing” voter on the court has expressed what might be called genuine reservations about the powers claimed for government by this law. All of this should take a back seat to the disastrous fact that Elena Kagan sits on the dais, presiding with the rest of the Supreme Court, judging a law that she helped to write, and judging the arguments that she helped to frame as the previous Solicitor General. This is the very soul of corruption.
In any sane world, Elena Kagan would have recused herself. She would have removed herself from the proceedings. In any just world she would have been forced to do so by the other members of the court. She is, in reality, sitting in judgment upon herself and upon the arguments she has devised. It is a preposterous and ridiculous situation. The highest judicial body in the greatest nation on earth has been reduced to the level of a kangaroo court in a banana republic. The reputation of the court is tarnished; corruption has set in.
My judgment on this matter transcends whatever outcome may come on this question. The primacy and honor of the Supreme Court have been corrupted by her presence in this proceeding. Of course, saddest of all, this is why she is present. She was appointed strategically by President Obama precisely for this reason. Corruption adores company, and corruption on the part of powerful people cares not about issues of legality or constitutionality. Such corruption seeks only to hold on to power. The Constitution is just a bump in the road. The Supreme Court is just a challenge to be overcome.
If this farce has been allowed to stand–and it certainly appears that it has–can any citizen have confidence in the supremacy of the rule of law? It would appear that on this score, all bets are off. The three days of argument before the Supreme Court this week should have been declared days of mourning: Lady Justice, R.I.P.