Hatch vs. Fried
For all that I appreciate Congress's decision to webcast committee hearings, actually watching them can be a depressing experience. After hours of persuasive expert testimony this morning, I saw no evidence that any senator, from either party, had changed positions even a little. Perhaps the most telling moment came when Utah's Orrin Hatch scolded Charles Fried, a Harvard law professor who served as Ronald Reagan's solicitor general and considers the mandate easily constitutional, for the quality of his arguments.
The primary flaw Hatch pointed out in Fried's thinking was that, well, Hatch disagreed with it. Despite his preexisting respect for the quality of Fried's legal thinking, the fact that Fried's position differed from Hatch's had left Hatch "shocked" at Fried, not more skeptical of his own thinking. Motivated skepticism in action, I guess.
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