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US Supreme Court faces classic questions

  • February 10th, 2015

The Economist explains for lay readers some competing considerations in the Obamacare challenge the Supreme Court is about to consider.

It is worth reading, though the reporter’s bias shows in a dismissive description of the legal principle that makes this such a serious challenge, even for lawyers who very much want Obamacare to survive.

The principle that the law is what the words say, not what politicians claim they intended, lies deep in the rule of law. Citizens should be able to know in advance, from the words of the law, what is lawful and what is not without asking any politician, or subordinare ruler what they want the rule to be made to mean.

This is now particularly important in New Zealand, where our ruling parties collaborate to pass undefined slogans as law, hoping they will get away with appearing to satisfy their supporters without fully alerting those who will have deep-rooted objections.

National’s Marine and Coastal Area Act, replacing Michael Cullen’s more principled Seabed and Foreshore Act is a case in point.

Despite the sloppiness in the drafting of the US law in question I think the Court will find a way to uphold its effectiveness, correctly.

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