Paul Campos: Why Does John Roberts Get to Decide?





Paul Campos is a professor of law at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

The answers [as to why John Roberts get to decide what kind of health care system we will have] boil down to various forms of cultural mysticism. The conservative form worships The Constitution as a kind of magical and almost — in some cases you can scratch the “almost”– divinely inspired document, similar to the Bible, in that it contains a correct and satisfactory answer to any possible question that can be asked of it.

The liberal form venerates judges as pseudo-Platonic philosopher guardians, who protect us from the excesses of democratic decision making via their special brand of wisdom.

Both beliefs are or ought to be ridiculous on their face. But such beliefs are psychologically necessary. The alternative is to accept that a K Street lawyer gets to decide what sort of healthcare system America has, for no better reason than that our society, like others, clings to all sorts of irrational customs because of ancestor worship, wishful thinking and sheer inertia.

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