Its been just another typical day here in Washington. In a speech that threatens to give sanctimonious bullshit a bad name, Kyrsten Sinema affirmed that the filibusters obstruction of majority rule is a more fundamental foundation of our democracy than Americans right to vote, while, just across the street, the Supreme Court Six negated the federal governments right to protect the citizenry against a deadly pandemic.
For a bunch of jurists who claim to adhere to textualism, the six Court right-wingers gave no indication that theyd actually read the act that established the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which was signed into law by left-winger Richard Nixon. That law gives OSHA the authority to protect workers exposed to grave danger from substances or agents determined to be toxic or physically harmful or from new hazards.
During oral arguments last week, some of the Six noted that since it was possible to contract COVID off the job as well as on, the pandemic wasnt really a workplace hazard. This argument seemed to miss the apparently obscure fact that close to 100 million of their fellow Americans have at some point over the past two years been working remotely due to the fact that showing up at workplaces heightened the risk of coming down with the virus. Then again, nothing in the constitutional requirements for serving on the Court requires justices either to follow the news or exhibit common sense.
Have previous administrations required private big businesses to alter their conduct during national emergencies? It would seem that they have. During World War II, virtually every American manufacturer was compelled to shift from making what they normally produced to the production of tanks, ships, guns, helmets, and the like. Some were slow to make the shift from profitable new cars to not-quite-so-profitable jeeps, but the Pentagon made clear this was a requirement, not a request.
For the record, 405,399 Americans were killed in World War II, while more than 800,000 Americans have now died from COVID.
In 2009 and 10, Sarah Palin and other Republicans warned that the Affordable Care Act then pending in Congress would establish death panels that would determine whether Americans would live or die. Those warnings, to state it gently, turned out to be wrong, but as of today, we do indeed have a death panel that has exercised the very powers those Republicans feared. It has six members, all wearing robes.
Like I said, just another typical day in D.C. Me, Im going back to bed.