U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan characterized ObamaCare as the federal government’s way of saying, “We’re giving you [the states] a boat-load of money, there are no matching funds requirement, there are no extraneous conditions attached to it, it’s just a boat-load of federal money for you to take and spend on poor people’s health care. It doesn’t sound coercive to me,” insisted Kagan to Solicitor General Paul Clement, who spoke for the 26 states challenging the constitutionality of ObamaCare on Wednesday.
“Let me give you a hypothetical, Mr. Clement,” added Justice Sonia Sotomayor, “Now, suppose I’m an employer and I see somebody I really like and I want to hire that person and I say, ‘I’m going to give you 10 million dollars a year to come work for me,’ and the person says, ‘Well, I … you know … I’ve never been offered anywhere approaching 10 million dollars a year …’ of course I’m going to say yes to that. Now, we would both agree that that’s not coercive, right?”
“Well,” responded Clement, “I guess I would want to know where the money came from.” With that, the courtroom gasped and then erupted with laughter.
“Wow, wow!” said a surprised Sotomayor, “I’m offering you 10 million dollars a year to come work for me and you’re saying that this is anything but a great choice?”
Sotomayor’s analogy was faulty, Clement explained, because the money in question “actually … came from my own bank account. And that’s what’s really going on here …”
What Kagan referred to as a free “boat-load of money” and Sotomayor called “a great choice” results from what the fictional mob character Vito Corleone called an “offer you can’t refuse.”
“He donated a lot of money to the local churches and supported whole neighborhoods,” said a man in a post to a website dedicated to an infamous neighbor, “Was he a nice guy? No, since he had folks killed and he was selling dope to kids … He did, however, make some positive impacts on the down-and-out neighborhoods … If he wasn’t such a public mafia figure, he would’ve been elected governor of New York or New Jersey years ago.” The neighbor in question was the late Gambino crime family boss John Joseph Gotti, known as the “Dapper Don” and the “Teflon Don.”
Gotti’s neighbor didn’t question where the Dapper Don got his boat-load of money. It was enough that all that cash had “positive impacts on the down-and-out neighborhoods.” To wonder from where and from whom that cash came was, well, as funny a question to Gotti’s neighbor as were councilor Clement’s moral qualms concerning ObamaCare’s extortion to Justice Kagan, Justice Sotomayor and the packed courtroom gallery of media and Washington movers and shakers.
“Because power corrupts,” observed John Adams, “society’s demands for moral authority and character increase as the importance of the position increases.”
Not in John Gotti’s America.