Apparently, the editors at The Bell Tower forgot to publish this excellent column about health care at the time it was written.  Since the editors, the publishers, the writers and the marketing team are all the same person, you'd think this process would be much more efficient.  Anyway, why wait all week for a long, rambling opinion from the Supreme Court when you can read a long, rambling opinion from the Bell Tower right now?

"The real energy of these challenges arose out of those Tea Party town halls throughout the summer of 2010, in response to a longing to return to constitutional values, states’ rights, and ideas of individual liberty that have been dead for almost a century."

-Dhalia Lithwick

Let's translate that:  The three central tenets of the American experience - freedom, federalism and the Constitution - are dead.  They have been dead for nearly a hundred years.  So get these quaint notions out of your head, silly Americans.

Dahlia Lithwick is correct.  All three of these notions have been dead for nearly a century - in the rareified bubble of intellectual hubris where people like her seem to operate.  Ever since Woodrow Wilson discovered that he was the smartest person he knew, progressives have been tired of federalism.  This is precisely the same vaccum where our current president and his supporters conduct most of their governing.  They do not believe in the constitution, they do not believe in federalism and they do not believe in individual freedom.  In fact, they have great contempt for this notion of limited government, which constantly seems to prevent them from doing what they see as the people's work.  This is why they thrive on manufacturing crises, which produce the necessary urgency to sweep the objections of those annoying people under the rug.  Who can forget Nancy Pelosi's incredulous response to a question about the law's constitutionality?  "Are you serious?"

Various articles expressing similar sentiments to Ms. Lithwick's sprung up in the weeks leading up to the Supreme Court's oral arguments on the health care law.  Lithwick's central argument for the constitutionality of Obamacare makes a perfect circle:  "Well of course the law is constitutional, the president hasn't even bothered to defend its constitutionality, silly!"  Clearly, this was the mindset with which the administration approached oral arguments.  Solicitor General Verrili is himself an instrument of the Court.  Given the clear contempt progessives have for this whole Rule of Law thing, his stumbling performance should come as no surprise.  If you try and use a darning needle to hammer a nail into a board, you're not likely to succeed.  You'll probably break the needle.

Many of the arguments did not take the court, the justices or the constitution seriously.  They were frequently political arguments designed to persuade political observers, not legal arguments for Supreme Court justices.  Even the alleged progressives on the court saw through this thin gruel.  It's a tax on Monday but a penalty on Tuesday.  The mandate is the most important portion of this legislation and must be upheld on Tuesday, but it's also irrelevant and can be easily extracted in case the court decides to strike it down on Wednesday.  It was the Mitt Romney of legal arguments:  "What do you want me to be today?"  Pelosi and Reid didn't even bother to prepare for the possibility of severability for the mandate.  Why should they?  The constitution is dead.

Most telling was when Justice Kennedy asked where the limits of this law might be.  If Congress can compel people to conduct an affirmative act of business, where are the boundaries?  Where are the limits on this power?  The administration's response was to fumble and throat clear but the answer was as plain as the wide eyed look on Nancy Pelosi's face:  "Limits?  But, Congress and the President can do whatever they want!  There are no limits!"  Somewhere in the ether, Thomas Jefferson is nodding his head vigorously while John Marshall is silently chuckling.

The Obama administration has contempt for the Supreme Court and hardly bothered to try and hide that fact.  It's hard to imagine even the Obama appointees failing to notice this insulting posture.  Lest there be any doubt about the administration's dismissal of the Supreme Court, let us recall the President's hectoring insults of the Court on international television the last time time they failed to issue a rubber stamp.  Even if Dahlia Lithwick has forgotten this moment, you can rest assured that Justice Kennedy has not:

"Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests — including foreign corporations — to spend without limit in our elections. Well I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities."

The President made this pronouncement to thunderous applause while gesticulating at the Justices all seated directly in front of him in a speech televised across the globe.  President Obama doubled down on this sentiment last week, when he decided to announce that it would be "unprecedented"  should "an unelected group of people somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law."  The Supreme Court has been doing this since the 1800's but never mind.  The better question is when exactly did being elected count for anything in the President's eyes?  He's spent the better part of the last two years berating a duly elected Republican house for not rubber stamping his initiatives.   On Tuesday, he accused them of trying to "impose a radical vision on the country."  

This President's modus operandi for dealing with opposition has been manifest for a long time:  denounce and dismiss.  He does not work with opposition because he does not respect it.  Reality does not exist outside the White House.  See Senator Olympia Snowe's departing note that she hasn't spoken to the President in nearly two years.  President Obama exudes the central conceit of the progressive intellectual:  it is not possible to seriously disagree with progressive intellectuals.  Those who do are corrupt, ignorant or deluded.  The Supreme Court, as the President indicates himself above,  is simply a partisan tool of special interest and wealth.  It should come as no surprise to find the arguments produced by this administration falling so flat before a court it's decided is nothing more than a relic of America's idylic past. Fortunately for the American people, the Supreme Court is one opponent this administration cannot simply dismiss.