Friday, March 30, 2012

Justice Scalia’s Slippery Slope Broccoli Argument

by Dee Newman

Lawyers seem to love slippery slope arguments. Namely, that a relatively insignificant first step will lead to a chain of related events culminating in some significant negative outcome.

Granted, every opinion and decision has a slippery slope. However, for a slippery slope argument to have validity, it requires some autonomous justification of the connection between the links: otherwise the argument logically is invalid.

If the decision of individuals living in the U.S. not to eat broccoli impacted interstate commerce as significantly as the decision of millions of individuals not to purchase health insurance (even though they can afford it), then it might be altogether fitting and appropriate for the national government to intervene in broccoli consumption. But, it doesn’t.

Justice Scalia’s slippery slope broccoli argument is, quite frankly, ridiculous and illogically unsound to which any first-year law student could easily rebut.

If the conservative justices on the court, who are supposed to be exceptional lawyers, rely on such a lame argument to invalidate the Affordable Care Act, then, believe me, something else besides logic and the Constitution is motivating their opinion.

To strike down this law on such transparently weak grounds by a group of justices who purport to be committed to judicial restraint would be quite brazen.

And yet, the court has render equally ludicrous decisions in the past – Bush v. Gore and Citizens United, just to name two.

1 comment:

mythopolis said...

It is all quite discouraging!