By Will Durst
Let us talk of many things, of Cabbages and Kings. Of Ultimate Arbiters. The Court of Last Resort. SCOTUS. The judicial graveyard where appealers go to die. The Supreme Court of the United States, which reluctantly deigned to hear testimony on a subject so obviously beneath them, it was an effort to keep their left eyes open: Obama Care.
Due to the rarified air of the highest court in the land, the arguments were solemn, dignified and incisive. “Obama Care Sucks!” “Does not.” “Does So.” “Does Not.” Like that, only in elevated lawyer language.
The Supremes, made up of six Catholics and three Jews — and doesn’t that sound like the dance card at a KKK Lawn Burning Jamboree — agreed to stoop from their lofty perch to consider the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. And to that purpose they carved six whole hours from their busy docket. The equivalent of eight episodes of “American Idol,” without commercials. And no Steven Tyler, so they got that going for them.
Justice Antonin Scalia was frustrated: “Do you expect us to go through each part of this law?” Of course not. That’s why they call them briefs. The Act, as rammed through a Democratic Congress, is 2400 pages long. Or 2700. They’re still not sure. Shouldn’t they be sure? By now? A lot of stuff can happen in 300 pages. We’ve all read Harry Potter.
For some odd reason, vegetables were referenced. Repeatedly. Scalia facetiously asked: “Everybody has to buy food… therefore you can make people buy broccoli?” Hmm. Seems to possess an unhealthy fixation with broccoli, a member of the cabbage family, mentioning it eight times. The traumatic result of a pre-adolescent dinner revolt?
The thing is, Tony, if you don’t buy broccoli, my grocery bill doesn’t go up. Stores don’t offer differing prices for rich people broccoli and poor people broccoli. And you won’t ever be prevented from buying broccoli because you got a weird looking oyster in your cart.
Needless to say, everybody on the Court has health care. As well they should. As well we all should. They are going to need it, because anybody trying to slog through this much Congressional gobbledygook better have a large supply of prescription drugs on hand. Perhaps a raid on your pig with wings’ Oxycontin stash is in the cards?
Meanwhile, the nation waits on surgical pins and sealing wax needles for the conclusion of these nine cranky, berobed millionaires. And just exactly how does a judge become a millionaire — speaking fees? Wouldn’t that disqualify Scalia’s ventriloquist dummy, Clarence Thomas?
Say the courtly immortals do strike down the individual mandate. Do they leave managed crumbs and pieces intact? Including the elimination of denial of coverage and pre-existing conditions? Or do we call it a wash and head back to Go and start all over? Do not collect $200. And put that IUD down, right now, missy.
Most expect the ruling to fall into the traditional Liberal-Conservative 4-4 split, with a single swing vote adjudicating. In other words, the future of American health care depends which side of the bed Justice Anthony Kennedy wakes up, on Decision Day in June. We might want to get this guy a date. Anything to put him in a good mood. Something healthy to raise his metabolism: like a nice roasted vegetable plate. A little bit of cabbage and lots of broccoli.