Please see my post of 4/1/12, "MY TAKE ON THE HEALTH CARE LAW". It coincides with SCOTUS in its historic decision on Obamacare. Take heart, you sinners. Every once in awhile, you get it right.
Who's the hero? Chief Justice John Roberts. Known for his conservative bent, he stood tall and did what what he believed was the right thing to do. He wrote the opinion, with which four liberal justices concurred. Giant judicial cojones. The Solicitor General had made scant mention of Congress' taxing power in his argument before the Court, but the Chief Justice turned to the four liberals and said, "follow me for I shall lead the way." And they did.
Every once in a while, a Judge, regardless of position in the judicial hierarchy, finds himself faced with a situation which beckons his conscience, the strict construction of a statute, notwithstanding.
In a jury waived trial before me, a nineteen year old woman was charged with illegal possession of a handgun. She faced a mandatory minimum of eighteen months if convicted. She had no prior record.The evidence established the following facts: She was on a date with a rogue on whom there were several outstanding warrants. A cop spotted the guy (no stranger to law enforcement) and ran towards him, intending to make an arrest. The man broke into a trot, the woman running alongside. They turned into an alley, whereupon he pulled a gun from his pocket, handed it to the woman, saying, "hurry, put this in your purse." She did. The cop saw this move, arrested the man, searched the woman's purse and retrieved the gun. Thus, the charge on trial.
Had the woman technically violated the statute? Of course. Was it the legislative intent to embrace this type of conduct when it promulgated eighteen months in the can? Not by my standard of right and wrong---not to mention fairness. I found the woman not guilty. I did, what to me, was the right thing. The prosecutor winked ever so slightly. He knew me, and was neither surprised nor perturbed.
Strangely enough, Roberts made no reference to my case in his written opinion, but he no doubt had it in mind. (be cool, man, I'm kidding.)
I salute his courage as he forged his place in history. Confirmation of his judicial integrity was to be found in Scalia's facial expression as the justices filed into the courtroom. His buttocks had been flogged.
Justice! In the United States Supreme Court!
What'll they think of next?