Thursday, July 05, 2012

The Answer is Enforced Silence, Not More Speech

We've been seeing a trend in recent years where the greatest threat to free inquiry, for conservatives, is other people speaking. Consider the fall out from Chief Justice Roberts' ACA opinion. Conservatives are convinced that Roberts changed his vote due to "left-wing media pressure". Here's Avik Roy at the National Review:
Perhaps, the next time a Republican president nominates a Supreme Court justice, he should make the candidate swear to never pick up a newspaper.

The bottom line, if Jan Crawford is right, is that conservative justices can be blackmailed by left-wing editorialists. It’s not a pretty picture.

As Roy Edroso points out, this might be the first time that "mere viewing of contrary opinions" has been characterized as "blackmail". Obviously liberals thought that a decision striking down the ACA would be terrible as a matter of law. The position of liberals had consistently (since well before the debate over the ACA specifically began) been that this law was obviously constitutional and could only be struck down if judges let their ideological preferences overcome any semblance of respect for law or precedent (they were buttressed in their belief due to the fact that this was the consensus conservative position too right up until it became associated with the Obama presidency). It's hardly surprising that, upon watching the well-understood contours of the Commerce Clause appear on the verge of shifting due to what was essentially a political temper tantrum, they'd speak up about it. Exactly how is airing this viewpoint "blackmail"?

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