Jeffrey Toobin in The New Yorker on the Supreme Court's restraint During oral arguments over the Affordable Care Act, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy asserted that the government had a "heavy burden of justification" for the individual mandate. Toobin writes, "Justice Kennedy had it backward. The 'heavy burden' is not on the defenders of the law but on its challengers. Acts of Congress, like the health-care law, are presumed to be constitutional, and it is—or should be—a grave and unusual step for unelected, unaccountable, life-tenured judges to overrule the work of the democratically elected branches of government." The precedent for deferring to Congress on interpretations of the Commerce Clause came about during the New Deal, Toobin writes, and since then, the court has very rarely overruled legislators. "The awesome, and final, powers of the Justices are best exercised sparingly and with restraint."
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William Kristol in The Weekly Standard on challenging an incumbent Conventional wisdom holds that elections are referendums on the incumbent, and if voters reject President Obama, Republicans will, coincidentally, win the White House. "This conventional wisdom was right, up to a point. The trouble is, we’re just now passing that point," writes Kristol. Obama's approval rating climbs, and a Republican campaign focused on "sniping" won't inspire voters who tend to give incumbents their second terms. "What’s the alternative? A forward-looking campaign, more like Reagan’s in 1980 and Clinton’s in 1992. Reagan and Clinton didn’t simply depend on unhappiness with the incumbent. They elaborated a different, and they claimed better, path ahead for the country."
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Juliette Kayyem in The Boston Globe on the Jet Blue captain Jet Blue Captain Clayton Osborn's mental breakdown on a flight to Las Vegas is likely to spawn hearings and oversight on mental screening of flight crews. "Not every drama or near tragedy is a teachable moment. At the risk of sounding too mellow about the whole incident, we should just sit back, admit stuff happens, and recognize that there was a backup plan: the copilot," writes Kayyem. She describes the incident and the successful effort of the co-pilot to kick Osborn from the cockpit once it became clear he needed to be restrained. The sparseness of incidents like this one should prove that back-up systems, like a good co-pilot, are enough to address the threat of an incapacitated captain. "The best security measures are not ones focused on a particular threat, but adaptable to any potential problems."
- Politics & Government
- Jeffrey Toobin
- Justice Kennedy