The Supreme Court’s uncharacteristic moment of sanity

By | October 3, 2023

Ian Millhiser writes:

Imagine that the Supreme Court of the United States spent an entire morning debating whether penguins are the primary cause of colon cancer or whether John F. Kennedy was assassinated by aliens from the planet Venus.

That’s more or less the quality of arguments that former Trump Solicitor General Noel Francisco presented to the Court on Tuesday, as part of a quizzical effort to convince the justices to declare an entire federal agency unconstitutional.

The good news is that the Court appears unlikely to buy what Francisco is selling. All three of the liberal justices took turns beating up Francisco, with an exasperated Justice Sonia Sotomayor telling Francisco at one point that she is trying to understand Francisco’s argument and is at a “total loss.”

Sotomayor appeared to be joined in her frustration by Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, two Trump appointees who showed little patience for Francisco’s attacks on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the agency that Francisco is urging them to strike down. Like Sotomayor, Barrett also repeatedly pressed Francisco to explain how, exactly, his proposed interpretation of the Constitution would actually work.

By the end of the argument, even Justice Clarence Thomas — ordinarily the most conservative member of the Court — appeared fed up with Francisco’s inability to articulate a coherent argument.

It seems very unlikely, therefore, that the Court’s decision in Consumer Financial Protection Bureau v. Community Financial Services Association will end in the CFPB being struck down — and that’s a very good thing. [Continue reading…]

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