Massachusetts SJC tries to sink Romney campaign

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Massachusetts SJC tries to sink Romney campaign

Okay, okay, that was not exactly the hold­ing of Dorothy Ann Finch v. Com­mon­wealth Health Insur­ance, but that may hap­pen. The Mass­a­chu­setts Supreme Judi­cial Court ruled, in a 32 deci­sion, that a lower court must use strict scrutiny in deter­min­ing whether or not the state can reduce state-​sponsored health care ben­e­fits to immi­grants. The lower courts had applied a ratio­nal basis stan­dard to the exclu­sion, mean­ing that the state only had to demon­strate that it had some inter­est in exclud­ing immi­grants from sub­sidised pro­grammes. The Supreme Judi­cial Court, how­ever, ruled that the lower courts must apply a “strict scrutiny” stan­dard, mean­ing that the leg­is­la­tion must be nar­rowly tai­lored to meet a com­pelling state interest.

This rul­ing — this par­tic­u­lar rul­ing — only cov­ers legal immi­grants, but the jump to cov­er­ing ille­gal immi­grants is very small. (I will also note that the MA courts have also ruled that the state con­sti­tu­tion requires abor­tions to be pro­vided for any­one who can­not afford one, as abor­tion is a con­sti­tu­tional right. No word yet on free guns for poor peo­ple.) Also note that courts, unlike the leg­is­la­tures, are not charged with mak­ing a bud­get, or mak­ing a bud­get work; their opin­ions are not only divorced from, but con­trary to, the real­i­ties of using lim­ited funds for unlim­ited needs and wants.

Noth­ing against immi­grants, but the real­ity is that they can return to their own coun­tries for free or sub­sidised health care; US cit­i­zens can­not go to Canada, for exam­ple, and demand free health care. It is an issue of sov­er­eignty, and of pro­tect­ing one’s own cit­i­zens and allo­cat­ing resources accord­ingly, but it remains to be seen whether or not Mass­a­chu­setts thinks that sov­er­eignty and bal­anc­ing the bud­get are fun­da­men­tal gov­ern­men­tal interests.

Okay, okay, that was not exactly the holding of Dorothy Ann Finch v. Commonwealth Health Insurance, but that may happen.  The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled, in a 3-2 decision, that a lower court must use strict scrutiny in determining whether or not the state can reduce state-sponsored health care benefits to immigrants.  The lower courts had applied a rational basis standard to the exclusion, meaning that the state only had to demonstrate that it had some interest in excluding immigrants from subsidised programmes.  The Supreme Judicial Court, however, ruled that the lower courts must apply a “strict scrutiny” standard, meaning that the legislation must be narrowly tailored to meet a compelling state interest.

This ruling – this particular ruling – only covers legal immigrants, but the jump to covering illegal immigrants is very small.  (I will also note that the MA courts have also ruled that the state constitution requires abortions to be provided for anyone who cannot afford one, as abortion is a constitutional right.  No word yet on free guns for poor people.) Also note that courts, unlike the legislatures, are not charged with making a budget, or making a budget work; their opinions are not only divorced from, but contrary to, the realities of using limited funds for unlimited needs and wants.

Nothing against immigrants, but the reality is that they can return to their own countries for free or subsidised health care; US citizens cannot go to Canada, for example, and demand free health care.  It is an issue of sovereignty, and of protecting one’s own citizens and allocating resources accordingly, but it remains to be seen whether or not Massachusetts thinks that sovereignty and balancing the budget are fundamental governmental interests.