I used to think mathematics is about as straight forward as you can get; a thing is a thing and it’s always that thing. But I long ago realized that there is art in play. Certain observations have a mark of individuality. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at all that law is the same way.
There is an art.
And here, via Althouse, is one artist taking another to school:
Paul Clement will attack the expansion of Medicaid. He’s talking about whether it’s “coercive,” because if it is, it won’t fit the Spending Power. Justice Kagan wants to know why a “big gift from the Federal Government” is coercion. “The Federal Government is here saying, we are giving you a boatload of money.” Page 3. Just a big old boatload of money is coercive, Clement says confidently. But the actual bill has a “very big condition.” Kagan interrupts, trying to make her point that a big boatload of money is not coercive. What if someone offered you a job and would pay you $10 million a year. Of course, you say yes, but you’re not coerced are you. Clement lays down one of the cleverist teasers I have ever heard: “Well, I guess I would want to know where the money came from.”
“Wow. Wow.” says Kagan. Has a Supreme Court ever said “Wow. Wow” before? She can’t believe you’d do anything other than snap up that money. “I’m offering you $10 million a year to come work for me, and you are saying that this is anything but a great choice?”
Clement springs his trap: “Sure, if I told you, actually, it came from my own bank account.”
Beautiful. And somewhat ballsy.
I suspect that Supreme Court Justices don’t enjoy being mocked in court. But hey, style points none the less.
The lesson, of course, is that the Liberal doesn’t know the money is already mine.