Right now, the media is obsessed with the ongoing Supreme Court case over the constitutionality of Obamacare. Look hard enough – or not at all – and you can find a blow-by-blow for the justices’ every comment, question and eye twitch… all with matching commentary on how it all foreshadows their final opinions.
In some cases, it’s an easy argument to make of course. When Justice Elena Kagan practically coaches Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. – who is charged with defending Obamacare before the Supreme Court – in what argument he should be making, that’s fairly indicative of her personal ruling.
The same goes for when Justice Antonin Scalia criticizes Verrilli for grossly underestimating the American people, or mocks the very idea of reading through the ridiculously lengthy document.
Addressing Deputy Solicitor General Edwin Kneedler, Scalia asked: “What happened to the Eighth Amendment? You really want us to go through these 2,700 pages?... Is this not totally unrealistic? That we are going to go through this enormous bill item by item and decide each one?”
All jokes aside, the Justice has a point. And not just that reading through Obamacare is cruel and unusual punishment. Or that only a true Satanist could come up with legislation that long.
His sarcasm only skims the surface of the issue at hand when, really, there is no good reason why any legal proposition should take up 2,700 pages. In fact, there’s no reason why it should take up 1,000, 500, or even 100 pages.
Even the most hoity-toity novels or hard-core textbooks aren’t 2,700 pages long. And they’re meant for entertainment or education, two exceedingly different classes of writing than lawmaking.
Here’s the bottom line when it comes to the acceptable length of a bill: Legislators should be able to actually read through it before they vote on it. Read through it, mind you, not pay a bunch of law student aides to read it for them.
While Obamacare is doubtlessly the most severe example of Congressional arrogance in this regard, it highlights a practice that has been going on for decades now, where elected representatives vote on hundred-plus page bills filled more with pet pork projects to buy votes than any overarching goals to better the United States of America.
With U.S. citizens passively allowing that kind of behavior in Washington for decades now, it’s no wonder President Obama was able to force Obamacare down our throats in the first place.
It’s only a wonder that we noticed at all.