Roberts Among the Houyhnhnms

When an opinion as important as John Roberts' in NFIB v. Sebelius calls to mind Jonathan Swift's trashing of elitist doubletalk, something's gone seriously wrong at the Court.  In one of political satire's greatest moments, Gulliver is told that he's been banished from Houyhnhnmland, and that because his Houyhnhnm master is being "duly pressed" to carry out the assembly's "exhortation," his departure "could not be put off much longer."  Somewhat befuddled, the hapless Gulliver struggles to make sense of what sounds suspiciously like Roberts' sophistry on the taxing power: A decree of the general assembly in this country is expressed by the word hnhloayn, which signifies an exhortation ... for they have no conception how a rational creature can be compelled, but only advised or exhorted, because no person can disobey reason, without giving up his claim to be a rational creature. (Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels) Sometimes in confusing situations, the best way to find out...(Read Full Article)

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