Daily Editors' Notes

Doubling down on a Supreme Court thumping

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John O'Connor, editorial director, McKnight's Long-Term Care News
John O'Connor, editorial director, McKnight's Long-Term Care News
When I recently predicted the new healthcare law's repeal, plenty of people disagreed.

One of these unfortunates is Elizabeth Newman, a colleague and confidant here at McKnight's. Elizabeth was so moved by my keen observation that she wrote a blog predicting just the opposite. I have high regard for Elizabeth, but there is a critical flaw in her argument: It relies too heavily on logic, supportive points and common sense.

The thesis supporting my position is far less elegant. Simply stated, people (including Supreme Court justices) tend to take care of their own. As things now stand, that would appear to give the Republican clan a 5-4 advantage on the nation's highest court. That is also the vote by which I expect Obamacare (aka the Affordable Care Act) to be rejected (or at least severely crippled).

Admittedly, my view gives short shrift to rational thought. But having seen it play out repeatedly, I have found clan loyalty to be an effective predictor of human behavior. 

In other words, logic shmogic. The reality is that we humans didn't fall out of the trees that long ago. Or as Robert Penn Warren wrote in “All the King's Men”: “Man is conceived in sin and born in corruption and he passeth from the stink of the didie to the stench of the shroud. There is always something.”

The “something” in the Obamacare case? Quite simply, these justices are going to remember who put them where they are. Regardless of the resulting political firestorm, I'm sure at least five Right-leaning justices will be willing to take one for the team.

Few would call me a betting man. But I am backing up this prediction with a little wager. In the case of Newman v. O'Connor, the loser buys lunch.

Now there's a meal to look forward to. Just hope I'm not eating crow.

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Daily Editors' Notes

McKnight's Daily Editor's Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor on Monday and Friday; Staff Writer Tim Mullaney on Tuesday, Editor James M. Berklan on Wednesday and Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman on Thursday.


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