Friday, October 15, 2010

Reagan Judge a Either a Carroll or Burger Fan

The Judge Roger Vinson, who is presiding over FL v. DHHS is a fan of Alice in Wonderland. In his decision rejecting the government's motion to dismiss, he criticized the government's "Alice in Wonderland" argument that though Democrats in passing the bill describe the individual mandate tax provision as a penalty and not a tax, it is no different from a tax. The government would for the court to hold that it is a tax because that would sidestep the entire Commerce Clause debate. It looks like the Reagan appointee will not allow that argument.

What caught my eye, however, was the reference to Alice in Wonderland. In the majority opinion in Tennessee Valley Authority v. Hill 437 U.S. 153 (1978), Chief Justice Burger cited Humpty Dumpty in footnote 18 in dismissing a dissenter's argument.
When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean--neither more nor less." Through the Looking Glass, in The Complete Works of Lewis Carroll 196 (1939)

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