Last week the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. Ex ante, legal scholars across the political spectrum considered this a straightforward case. ACA (including its individual mandate) is obviously constitutional based on seventy years of established precedent. After Supreme Court oral argument, however, it was apparent that things would be much closer.
As it turned out, the Court upheld ACA, but also imposed novel constraints on the federal government’s powers through the commerce clause. More mysteriously, Roberts apparently wrote both the majority opinion and much of the dissent Roberts also took a few potshots at academic economists:
“To an economist, perhaps, there is no difference between activity and inactivity; both have measurable economic effects on commerce. But the distinction between doing something and doing nothing would not have been lost on the Framers, who were ‘practical statesmen,’ not metaphysical philosophers…..”
Ironically, Roberts himself resembled no one so much as meta-physical philosopher Soren Kierkegaard. Kierkegaard would write under a pseudonym to savagely review his own works.
You may be confused by all this. Fortunately, this week’s apparent discovery of the Higgs Boson brings clarity to the situation. Once again, the formalism of quantum field theory brings clarity to hitherto unexplainable developments in public policy.
The Feynman diagram conceals some of intricate calculations. But the intuition is clear.
The key step is the Roberts-Roberts particle interaction. A Roberts- particle interacts through the logical contradiction annihilation operator to become a Roberts+. Then, one billionth of a billionth of a billionth of a second later, this interaction then produces spontaneous pair creation of a Breyer+ and a Scalia-, shown above. To simplify the mathematics, it’s sometimes useful to consider the Scalia particle to be a Breyer moving backwards in time.
Conservation principles lead many scientists to theorize the emission of a taxino particle, which is essentially massless by the hardship exemption theorem. Experts differ regarding whether this particle has been experimentally observed.