Barry Saunders

Supremes OK until they’re not

Here’s something you probably never thought about: You don’t have to burn down a CVS to be lawless.

The people protesting the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore this past spring were frequently described as thugs with no respect for the law after that neighborhood drug store was burned, and the people in Ferguson, Mo., who protested the decision not to charge that cop who shot Michael Brown, were described the same way – despite overwhelmingly peaceful protests in both instances.

Will someone call out the most recent thugs who are ignoring the rule of law?

John Boehner and just about every Republican presidential candidate fall into that category.

Within minutes of the Supreme Court’s 6-3 ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act, House Speaker Boehner and others were on TV assailing it and vowing to continue efforts to destroy it, their lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification. Their obstinacy reminds one of nothing as much as when the Wicked Witch of the West threatened Glinda the Good Witch in “The Wizard of Oz” and Glinda told her, “Oh rubbish. You have no power here.”

That’s what Boehner and the gang seem to be saying to the majority on the court: You have no power here – unless we agree with you.

A lesson in civics

Civics is no longer taught in high school but, when it was, one of the tenets of U.S. law was that once a law was tucked within the womb of the Supreme Court, it was safe from judicial or executive attacks.

Boehner is making those of us who took civics assume that we missed a lesson.

After the court’s ruling, Boehner, with broken syntax intact, seethed “The law is broken ... And we’re going to continue our efforts to do everything we can to put the American people back in charge of their health care and not the federal government.”

Never mind that over the years Congress has held more than 50 votes trying to overturn it and never could.

While many were about to pop a blood vessel over that Supreme Court ruling, the court then ruled that gay marriage bans are unconstitutional.

Oh Lord. What did it want to do that for?

Ted Cruz called the two rulings “some of the darkest 24 hours in our nation’s history” and now wants justices elected.

Holy mackerel.

Neither of the Supreme Court rulings do that.

What Boehner, et al. who are so exercised by the court’s recent rulings seem to mean by “we’re a nation of laws” is that laws are groovy when we agree with them, but they’re dictatorial, oppressive and – here’s the go-to complaint – examples of judicial tyranny when they don’t adhere to our world view. Cruz, for instance, has praised Chief Justice John Roberts as “brilliant” and “one of the best constitutional minds in the country.”

That, of course, was when Roberts’ rulings aligned with Cruz’s own world view.

Now, the chief justice has “transmogrified” into a “robed Houdini.”

Regardless of how one feels about Obamacare or gay marriage, there is but one question we need to answer: Are we or are we not a nation of laws?

If we are, we are supposed to respect those laws, unless they are unjust and seek to deprive citizens of their rights.

Allowing gays to marry who they love or making it easier for people to get health insurance do neither of those things.

Saunders: 919-836-2811 or bsaunders@newsobserver.com

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