Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Minkey

Not that we can avoid the pitfalls of neglecting the important by spending energy in minutia, but in our family we at least have a term to identify such situations. A minkey, as Inspector Clouseau's French pronunciation of the word monkey.

The metaphor is inspired in a great scene from "The Return of the Pink Panther" where distracted checking the license of a blind accordionist and his monkey, Clouseau botches a bank robbery.

It turns out that the Social Security Administration denied survivor benefits to twins artificially conceived after their father's untimely death. The case bubbled up all the way to the robes at the Supreme Court. There are about one hundred such cases in the whole country, so this case does not affect the citizen's lives in any meaningful way, and clearly the lawyers and process involved will cost much more than just paying based on pragmatic and humane common sense. That case is a minkey in my book.

I understand that justice is done one case at a time, but God knows while the nine justices deal with this minkey bigger injustices fester and grow.

And before my disappointment wanes I open the umbrella to the fallout of the Health Care Individual Mandate case just started at the Supreme Court. Three years of legislative energy hanging by the thread of the decency of a few unelected appointees in robes. Nine lucky robes that landed a job and health insurance for life are deciding for lesser ones.

I can accept any ruling, but I cannot accept a 5-4 ruling. The law may be flawed, but an outcome where it is flawed to roughly half of them and not flawed to another half means that more than law experts they are political animals.

If we ask untrained jurors to be unanimous in their findings why can't we ask from justices the same thing? Stay sequestered until you agree, or let me get my Justice from a blind accordionist and his monkey.