The Court’s Own Individual Mandate (They Get By With a Little Help from Their Friends)

March 28th, 2012

Inspired by To hear another side, court calls on its ‘friends’ (Washington Post3/28/12 page A8).


“Pity Robert Long. The Washington-based lawyer was specially invited by the Supreme Court to make the case for a legal position that neither party in the health-care challenge was willing to take. Yet no sooner did he launch into his argument at Monday’s hearing than the justices began ripping it to shreds.” – Washington Post


“Maybe there are people who feel they can afford to say no. I certainly didn’t. It’s a great honor.” – Stephen McAllister, another lawyer asked last year to appear as friend of the court


It’s an honor to be asked by the Court to prepare and present an amicus brief,

Though not being given that “honor” is a significant financial relief.


The Court appoints about one such “friend” per year,

Unashamed their services to commandeer.


That’s because the Court’s friends must work for free,

Which sounds a lot like a mandate to me.


Robert Long is a local lawyer in good repute

“Asked” by the Supremes to argue something the parties didn’t dispute.


(That is whether parties had to wait until the penalty was paid

Before challenging the mandate which they thereby disobeyed.)


Attorney Stephen McAllister was another recent recruit,

Asked from his office in Kansas to commute.


He worked around the clock for a quarter year,

Taking a break from his paying career.


(That’s a full ten times the 2.5% tax

Which the individual mandate exacts.)


The Court’s also considering whether Medicare funds are too great a temptation

To allow Congress to make their receipt conditional on a reciprocal obligation.


That sounds a lot like offering an unrefusable honor to a former clerk

In return for three months of free work.


Here’s your theme music, A Little Help from My Friends by Joe Cocker. (I like the Beatles version too, but Cocker’s rocks much harder.)

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