The Washington Times-Herald

Our Perspective

November 25, 2011

Health Care Law and Supreme Court impartiality

Joplin — The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review the constitutionality of President Obama's signature health-care law enacted in 2010. That means the outcome, one way or the other, is in the hands of the nine court justices.

They are required to render fair and impartial justice when making individual decisions on this landmark case, but the impartiality of at least two members of the court is in question.

Justice Elena Kagan was the solicitor general of the United States in the Obama administration. Her job, in part, was to argue on behalf of the federal government before the Supreme Court. She was also expected to provide legal advice to the administration as legislation germinated to ensure it met constitutional mandates.

So the question before Kagan is: Did she render legal advice to support the passage of the health care law while it wound through the legislative process? Also did she form her own opinions about the constitutionality of the law sometime in the past, long before it became a matter before the Supreme Court?

If that is the case, then clearly she should recuse herself.

Justice Clarence Thomas has also come under fire because of his wife’s financial ties to groups that oppose the health care law. They point out the conflict between the Thomas household’s bank account and his wife’s activities as a health care lobbyist.

Thomas’ case is not as clear-cut as Kagan’s. But if there is any doubt, he should also recuse himself from the health law case.

The Joplin Globe

Joplin, Mo.

Text Only
Our Perspective