The Supreme Court is Decadent and Depraved: Scenes From the...

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JUNE 28, 2012

The Supreme Court is Decadent and Depraved: Scenes From the Obamacare Decision

Cohn and others are taking care of the heavy lifting here at TNR in responding to the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act. But I was at the Supreme Court this morning, at the sweaty front-lines of the Obamacare decision, and I wanted to record for posterity a few details that might have been lost in the shuffle:

·         A belly dancer made a last-minute attempt to seduce justices into supporting Obamacare (I think) by gyrating near the front steps of the Court.

·         By my estimate, at least a dozen of the reporters in the Court were wearing running shoes, ready to sprint copies of the decision back to newsrooms (in 85 degree heat).

·         Justices Scalia and Thomas—both dissenters—spent the duration of the decision slouched back in their chairs, whispering to each other.

·         To complete the image, as Kennedy read the dissent, Alito frowned and sank back in his chair, creating a sense of visual unity among the disenchanted dissenters.

·         As Kennedy continued, Breyer, whose face had betrayed little emotion, let slip a small smile to Sotomayor.

·         The most raucous moment of the whole affair might have been Ginsburg’s joke: “As a learned jurist once commented: ‘Judges and lawyers live on the slippery slope of analogies; they are not supposed to ski it to the bottom.’” Boom.

·         Bachmann, outside the Court, after the decision was announced: “The people who will be the most hurt by the Court’s decision today, will literally be the poorest among us. Because those who have the least ability to pay the Obama tax, will be forced to pay the tax.” (I can only assume she was referring to her disappointment that the Medicaid extension was struck down.)

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