There are people one can debate with, and sense that no matter how one wins or loses the debate, that one is arguing with someone with integrity. And then there are folks like Mark Thiessen who don't even understand what scoundrels and serial prevaricators they are. These are folks who've been trained to make a case and will make that case, sans culottes, no matter how immoral or brazenly materially partisan and then claim that they are arguing "principles." That explains why Thiessen can't understand "Why are Republicans so awful at picking Supreme Court justices? Democrats have been virtually flawless in appointing reliable liberals to the court. Yet Republicans, more often than not, appoint justices who vote with the other side on critical decisions."
I'm not even a Republican and I can understand why that whine is just a whine and is not even true, because justices, who have any integrity, vote based on principles, and just because one disagrees with a policy doesn't mean that the principle is unconstitutional. Roberts made a principled argument, and Roberts doesn't get to make law from the bench. That is a conservative principle. Had he sided with the majority, especially Scalias nasty, partisan, and explicitly unjudicial dissent, he'd have been behaving in an unprincipled manner. My complaints about the "Gang of five" aren't with their conservatism but with their unprincipled decisions in giving tyrannical rights to corporations. I can't fault either Roberts or Thiessen for not being conservative enough. This was a case where Roberts actually applied conservative principles for a change. Thiessen doesn't get this.
Republicans may hate Romney-Obama care, but 90% of its ideas are from their side of the aisle. Most of us unabashed Democratic Socialist Rupublicans who believe in the principle of the commonwealth would prefer a simpler single payer system with democratic controls and less private tyranny. That would be consistent with my principles, and both are constitutional; these are policy differences not constitutional issues.
But Thiessen, and other "movement republicans" who can unabashedly argue for the morality of torture after serving a President who attacked the immorality of the practice and who stone-facedly claimed "we don't torture", and who can argue for the prosecution of persons who failed to prosecute him for his role in conspiring to commit war crimes, has trouble understanding the distinction between principled conservatism, and unabashed fascist partisanship. Advocating Torture and authoritarian methods makes him a Fascist, not a conservative. And that is why he's confused. The ability to turn on a dime is one possible tell that a person is fascist rather than principled. Thiessen and the Bush Administration used Saddam's use of torture of his enemies as part of their moral condemnation of Saddam Hussain.
I could become a conservative. I could never be a fascist. The question is a question of consistent principles. Thiessen just doesn't get it. He writes:
"Why is the Democratic record so consistent while the Republican record is so mixed? For one thing, the whole legal and political culture pushes the court to the left. Conservatives are pariahs if they vote against the left on certain issues. But if they cross over to vote with the left, they are hailed as statesmen. There is no penalty for voting left, but there is for voting right."
What penalty for voting right? Justices are supposed to vote on legal principles, not their partisan leanings. The court has frequently split on other than 5/4 basis, and in the past one could never predict the line up because each judge had a unique judicial "flavor" that could be counted on to create different line ups depending on the issue. Kagan's predecessor was famous because her views tended towards liberty, in that she could frequently ally with the more libertarian members of the court. Thiessen wouldn't know a principled decision if it hit him in the arse. He claims that there is no penalty for declaring liberal principles -- but liberal principels are the law of the land and there really ought to be a penalty for lying about ones principles as all four of the Bush appointees did. Not only did Kagan affirm that abortion is the law of the land, so did the conservative judges, because it is the law of the land. Thiessen can't even avoid spinning when whining.
"In her 1993 confirmation hearings, Ginsburg declared the right to abortion “central to a woman’s life, to her dignity” and was confirmed 96 to 3. Breyer declared abortion a “basic right” and was confirmed 87 to 9. Imagine if a conservative nominee said the opposite? His or her confirmation battle would be a nuclear war."
It sure would be a nuclear war, and some of these judges have said these things that Thiessen mentions since confirmation after denying them under oath. Should they be impeached? Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Kennedy know sophistry when they see it, but what Roberts, wrote, if it was sophistry, was based on conservative principles:
“To say that the Individual Mandate merely imposes a tax is not to interpret the statute but to rewrite it.” This, they said, “carries verbal wizardry too far, deep into the forbidden land of the sophists.”
That argument is sophistry. The government wrote the mandate, the mandate holds individuals responsible to buy insurance or pay a fine. This power is under the necessary and proper clause and taxation authority. That is just fact, not sophistry. Sophistry is what Thomas, Alito and Scalia were trying to do in shooting down a law on the grounds that they don't like it so it must be unconstitution. All these people are experts at sophistry and that is one problem with our legal system. Our lawyers are trained to be able to argue both sides of any question and so are perfectly willing to forget about core principles when applying the law. Does the Affordable Health Care act deal with commerce? yes. Does it regulate commerce, yes. Is it constitutional, yes. Movement conservatives wanted to impose law through the supreme court, it's they trying to rewrite the law by striking down congresses enactments. It's not their job and Roberts understood this principle that Scalia too often forgets. He understood it this time at least. Maybe he'll figure out that the Supreme Court should not be legislating legalized bribery or the purchase of the Government eventually.
Thiessen doesn't understand principle. That's been obvious since before he left the Bush Administration. The torturers apprentice wants to sound like a conservative, but he's just a wannabe fascist. Some of the most famous Supreme Court justices in history, during the Roosevelt Administration, (such as Justice Douglas) got on the nerves of progressives by voting against their legislation on conservative legal principles. The two subjects overlap, and our current justices are not their caliber, but Thiessen's arguments also lack a grasp of history.