Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Misunderstanding the Job

Jeffrey Sachs is an extremely well-educated dude. Undergrad and grad school at Harvard, faculty gigs at Harvard and Columbia, lots of big-brain consulting work with NGO's and various foreign governments; he's obviously not dumb.

Which is what makes this recent opinion piece of his at CNN a head-scratcher:
Bro, the Supreme Court is not there to rule on whether a law or regulation is scientifically sound or not. It's there to rule on whether something is or is not constitutional. Surely this was covered somewhere in your storied scholastic career?

This is similar to the carping about gun stores and ranges here in Indiana being ruled essential businesses back during the early days of the 'rona. Some pundits were wondering how this could be, since one was no less likely to catch the 'rona at an indoor range than a bowling alley*, or at the corner gun store than they were at, say, Hobby Lobby. Those pundits tended to get all angry and foot-stompy when you pointed out that there was no specifically enumerated right to quilt or go bowling in either the state or federal constitutions.

The bar to infringe on enumerated rights is generally held to be higher than it is on things that aren't specifically mentioned right there in the ground rules. 

If you don't like me getting $200 every time I land on or pass over "GO", you need to write to Hasbro and get them to change the rules on the box top, not complain that the rules are scientifically illiterate.

*Actually, a good indoor range that's pumping in fresh outside air and blowing it downrange at hundreds or thousands of cubic feet per minute is probably one of the safer indoor environments when it comes to not catching other people's cooties.