Kennedy’s Replacement Should Be Judge Amy Coney Barrett

It will be nice to have one woman in the majority when the Supreme Court finally overturns Roe v. Wade.

.. She is the youngest of the five top choices, which is a mark in her favor given that the nominee will have life tenure and Trump will want one who will leave a lasting mark on the law.

.. Her educational history — she went to Rhodes College and Notre Dame Law School — would add a little welcome diversity to a Supreme Court full of Yale and Harvard alumni.
.. Barrett has also recently been through Senate confirmation to a federal appeals court. She won the support of all the Republicans and three Democrats
.. But they will be hard-pressed to argue that she is an extremist given their own recent support... “Dogma lives loudly within you,” Feinstein said, in reference to Barrett’s Catholic faith. Never mind that Barrett had already said that “it is never appropriate for a judge to apply their personal convictions, whether it derives from faith or personal conviction.”

.. Feinstein’s office defended the senator by noting that Barrett had also written, in an article for the Notre Dame Alumni Association, that all people play a role “in God’s ever-unfolding plan to redeem the world” — which is a fairly basic statement of Christian belief that does not imply support for the judicial imposition of theocracy.

.. opposing a woman will probably be more awkward for senators than opposing a man would be. Also, it cannot be good for conservatism that all three women now on the court are liberals.

.. If Roe v. Wade is ever overturned — as I certainly hope it will be, as it is an unjust decision with no plausible basis in the Constitution — it would be better if it were not done by only male justices, with every female justice in dissent.

So pick Barrett, Mr. President. Let the dogma live loudly on the Supreme Court.


Max Boot’s Weak Defense of Harvard’s Affirmative Action

“You don’t necessarily want a student body made up entirely of bookworms . . .” This point is often made in defense of race-conscious admissions policies, but it always seems to me to be an attack on a strawman. Who argues that colleges should ignore musical talent, charitable works, or athletic ability? And where’s the evidence that positive non-academic qualities are generally correlated with race? From the proposition that not all students should be bookworms, it does not follow that therefore colleges should put a thumb on the scale for whites over Asians and for blacks and Hispanics over whites. But that logic would have to be valid for Boot’s argument to be pertinent to the controversy.

.. The Supreme Court, by the way, has rejected this kind of remedial justification for racial preferences, in part because it frowns, for obvious reasons, on using race as a proxy for other variables.

..  “There is, moreover, value in a diverse student body. You learn more about life if you go to class with people who are different from you — who have different abilities, different geographic origins, different social classes, different sexualities, different religions, different political views and, yes, different ethnicities.”

.. Boot has only so much space to make his case, so it would be unfair to infer from the fact that he does not substantiate or specify the alleged benefits of this diversity that it cannot be done.

.. Are we really supposed to believe that Harvard is trying with all its might to ensure that the campus has plenty of Pentecostals, Italian-Americans, and Trump supporters?


Another Bad Idea for the Tax Conferees

A political drawback of the Republican tax bills is that they raise taxes on a significant number of voters by curbing the deduction for state and local taxes. A lot of these voters are in households that make between $100,000 and $500,000 in taxable income. About 40 million tax returns come from that group, and its members are disproportionately likely to face higher taxes as a result of Republican tax legislation.

Would Republicans make these households happier if they cut taxes more for households richer than they are?

The Republican Health-Care Crack-Up

decided on a two-part strategy. Republicans would repeal much of Obamacare early, using “reconciliation” procedures to allow a simple majority of the Senate to act without being filibustered by the Democratic minority. Later, they would repeal the rest of Obamacare and enact a replacement.

Republicans had already passed a reconciliation bill repealing Obamacare’s taxes and subsidies when President Obama was in office. (He vetoed it, of course.) Replacement would, on the other hand, require Republicans to overcome their disagreements.

.. It became clear, however, that McConnell’s plan would not work, in large part because insurance markets could collapse in the interim.

.. The House leaders devised a bill that they said accomplished as much of both repeal and replacement as the parliamentarian would allow.

.. many of the conservative critics, at least by the end of the debate over the bill, were willing to accept that tax credits were necessary. What continued to concern them was that so many of Obamacare’s regulations were left in place.

.. That problem could have been addressed by being less aggressive in rolling back Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid .. and by making the tax credits more generous to people with incomes a little too high for Medicaid and people nearing retirement.

.. Mike Lee of Utah, an ally of the Freedom Caucus, reported that the parliamentarian had told him that nobody had asked her about the permissibility of some specific deregulatory steps

.. What it really shows, above all, is that legislating is easier when you have 60 rather than 52 senators on your side. The Democrats had a much freer hand in making regulatory changes when they passed Obamacare

.. During the campaign he had a brief outline of a plan that made little sense, and he dropped it in favor of letting the Congress come up with something.

.. Nothing is stopping the Republicans from spending the next year hammering out a bill that they like better, refining it as they go so that it enables more people to buy coverage they actually want.

.. Most Republicans now embrace moving toward a market in which all Americans have the option to buy renewable catastrophic coverage and in which such coverage competes with more comprehensive plans on a level playing field.