Is it too hard for you, Justice Scalia?
Yesterday was the fourth anniversary of my son’s death, and the week leading up to it is difficult under any circumstance. But this year it was especially hard.
I paid close attention to the Supreme Court arguments in the case of the Affordable Care Act and watched with great dismay as they became as political as I had anticipated.
Now, the Supreme Court isn’t supposed to be a political body, but this court is unabashedly so. It has been stacked with ideologues on the right, and there is no reason among those justices. Just look at all the decisions they have made along ideological lines, including the disastrous Citizens United decision that has allowed unlimited corporate money into our election process.
In recent years, Justice Kennedy is the only one to whom anyone needs to pitch an argument, since he is the only one who matters anymore.
I was truly appalled at Justice Scalia, as he joked about the individual mandate leading down the slippery slope to a mandate that we all have to buy broccoli. That’s clever and witty if you have guaranteed medical care for the rest of your life. Oh, and by the way, we taxpayers pay for his government-funded health care. Now, there’s a joke for you, albeit a particularly cruel one for those of us who have watched loved ones die slow and painful deaths because they couldn’t get care.
And when he jokingly asked whether he should have to read the entire law, my head almost exploded. Here’s what I have to say to him:
You’d better read the whole damn thing, Justice Scalia; it’s your job to read and understand the law. Or are you above such menial chores now? I’ve read it. In fact, I keep a copy on my desktop. I see it as my best hope of getting care to more Americans, even as you joke about their pain and suffering.
The death toll stands at 45,000 a year, Justice Scalia. Four years ago, one of them was my child and I will never get over that. I was genuinely insulted by your behavior as you made light of my son and the hundreds of thousands like him when you said we could just let people continue to die. Yuk, yuk.
What’s really baffling to me is that you call yourself a Christian. I can’t stand in judgment of your actions, but someday, someone will. I only hope I get to witness it.
Political pundits are saying now that President Obama should run on the failures of the Supreme Court. I think that’s a great idea; right now it’s the only governmental body less popular with the American people than Congress.
And maybe if the president wins a second term we can get a couple more justices who will judge each case on its merits, not on the ideals of the Koch Brothers.
Leslie Boyd, a former newspaper reporter, is president of the health care advocacy nonprofit, WNC Health Advocates, founded in memory of her son, who died in 2008 because he couldn't access health care. E-mail her at leslie at lettersfromtheleft dot com or follow her on Twitter @leftyletters1, visit Letters from the Left on Facebook. For more information about WNC Health Advocates or to read Boyd's health care blog, visit wncha.org.