Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Konstitutional Law

Did Mickey take a button of peyote and start thumbing through back issues of the Yale Law Journal? Because that might explain this:

Jon Alter's latest column--calling for health care to be treated as a "civil right"--brings up an underdiscussed question: In a single payer plan, would health care be treated as a constitutional entitlement that couldn't be taken away without "due process" under the Warren Court's so-called "New Property" doctrine? My Con Law knowledge is a few decades out of date--but the doctrine covered welfare benefits, guaranteeing a hearing to individuals before they could be denied. Why not health benefits? ...

Good lord! I'm a drunken mess, and even I know that:

1) "The New Property" was a moderately influential article by Charles Reich, not a Supreme Court doctrine.

2) The hearing-before-denial-of-benefits case was Goldberg v. Kelly (1970), which would have been ... the Burger Court. [Are you sure it wasn't the Warren Court? That's the evil one, right? -- ed. Warren Burger, Earl Warren, Earl Weaver, Dream Weaver, Earl of Sandwich ... it's all the same ...]

3) What are the odds that a mid-60s left-liberal academic theory would be treated as settled law today by the Roberts Court? [Hey, he said his con law knowledge was "out of date" -- ed. Is it so out of date that he thinks that William Brennan is still on the court?]

4) Hasn't Mickey been arguing over and over again that anything that even remotely comes close to a kinda-sorta-not-really denial of benefits is a horrifying crime against man and God? So why does he argue later in the post that:

[A] "public option" might help avoid having every "we won't pay for this treatment" decision become a constitutional issue in a way a universal, single-payer entitlement couldn't ...

Shouldn't he want constitutional protections for his health care? When you're trying to stop the Ezra Kleins of the world from pulling the plug on you, shouldn't you want any weapon to hand?

Wait, I think I've figured out that last one. Ladies and gentlemen, the one thing Mickey fears more than death itself:

Any kind of victory for public interest lawyers.

Perish the thought!