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The supreme court needs a citizen judge.

In 1921, President Warren Harding appointed former President William Howard Taft Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He served until shortly before his death in 1930. Though a lawyer, Taft was by trade a politician. He had not practiced law for some 16 years prior to his appointment to the court. Click here for more on Taft. Levi Woodbury (1845-1851) was the first justice to graduate law school. What about the justices before Woodbury? Well by our definition they were not lawyers. Stanley Forman Reed (1938-1957) was the last justice to serve without a law degree. For 21 years, he decided cases without benefit of a legal education. No doubt he learned a lot from the other lawyers on the court. But in this era of the political supreme court, which some scholars say is not really a court, what says a supreme court justice needs to be a lawyer? Not the constitution.

This nation needs a citizen who did not attend an law school to be a supreme court justice. This nation needs someone who worked from paycheck to paycheck, someone who understands what its like to get to the end of the month and not be sure if there is money for prescription drugs, food and rent. This nation needs someone who will stand up in the court chambers and remind these elite people of some basic facts. If you strike down the health care law you will be denying affordable health insurance to 30 million Americans. A court should be about justice, and that is not always defined by precedent.

Justice Antonin Scalia made an unprecedented political remark from the bench on Monday while delivering the decision mostly striking down Arizona’s immigration law. He made a political comment criticizing president Obama’s recent decision to stop deporting the children of illegal immigrants who did not even have a choice about coming to the United States. It was an overtly political statement from a court that is not supposed to be political.

The court is political always has been, always will be. Bush v Gore was a political decision. True a recount conducted after the fact proved that Gore would have lost a recount, but that is not the point. Roe v Wade, Brown versus the board of education. These were political decisions. The court is made up of people with political views appointed by politicians. Of course it is making political decisions.

So why is there not a voice outside the legal profession on the court? Because people seem to feel that you need a legal education to decide legal cases. Poppycock. I can and have read supreme court decisions dating back to 1954. I and many other Americans have common sense and can with the help of the other justices learn what is needed to make decisions the few and far between that actually involve law.

Would it not be great if we had a justice, who remembered what it was like to go to bed hungry as an adult. Would it not be a breath of fresh air to have a justice who could remind the other members of the court that these decisions affect the lives of real people. That people could die if this court takes away their health care.

Now this Thursday the court will deliver a decision on the Affordable Care Act. It will let us know if the mandate is constitutional or not. This case was decided by Congress. In order to bring a case against a tax, one must pay the tax first. The mandate is enforced by raising ones tax bill. It is in fact a tax. Therefore a strict reading of the law is that since the mandate is not in effect, no tax has been paid and the state of Florida has no cause of action against the United States.

The argument about Interstate Commerce is a little more murky. It can be argued that the mandate is creating commerce. However health care is a $2.7 Trillion industry that has a lot of commerce crossing state lines. The taxpayers are paying for health care of all the uninsured who now go to the emergency room. The mandate is not big government run amok. It is a decision by government to make the consumers of health care pay for it. It is not fair that people like me who maintain health insurance should pay higher rates to cover people who can not afford it, or who believe the will not need it.

A citizen judge would not look for a reason to strike down this law. A real citizen would realize that the law creates an interstate insurance pool that includes everyone that today does not get health insurance from their employers. It takes commerce away from the government, ratepayers and taxpayers who now provide emergency care to the uninsured. It moves that cost partially to the people consuming the care. It takes 30 million Americans from expensive emergency room care to the doctors office where some preventative care and good advice could save the country hundreds of billions of dollars. It’s good policy and its good law.

Pointing out that the law is the same one Romney passed in Massachusetts should not be necessary. So there you have it. The argument of a citizen, with public policy and case law strewn in. All done without the benefit of a law degree. I have better things to do than to become a court justice. However to assume I can not handle the job because of my education is ridiculous. I have known hunger. I have known the hard choices facing Americans. I know that money is not speech and corporations are not people too Mr. Romney. I could do a better job than anyone on the court teaching people about real people. How about it Mr. President? How about a citizen judge. A judge that is not a lawyer.


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