Frank Pasquale starts his commentary on Judge Hudson's Obamacare decision with this observation:
I guess we all now know that Federal Judge Henry E. Hudson has a “stake worth between $15,000 and $50,000 in a GOP political consulting firm that worked against health care reform — the very law against which he ruled today.”
I take it we're supposed to infer some sort of conflict of interest? Curiously, however, I've been unable to find any complaint by Frank about Judge Stephen Reinhardt's failure to recuse himself from the prop 8 case even though Reinhardt "is married to Ramona Ripston, longtime head of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California. The ACLU has filed friend-of-the-court briefs in the same-sex marriage case, urging the appeals court to uphold U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker's Aug. 4 ruling quashing Proposition 8."
I don't see where Hudson is likely to make any significant amount of money off his decision today. At best, the case might result in the firm getting some work in the future, which would pay him some modest dividends. Whereas Reinhardt goes hom every night to a person with a strong interest in the outcome of his case. If Reinhardt's like most married people I know, keeping the spouse happy is likely to be a lot more important than a few bucks in dividends.
And then Frank tells us he has no "faith that Washington would ask millionaires and billionaires to pay a fair share of taxes," which called to mind William McGurn's op-ed in today's WSJ:
In fact, the desire for higher taxes often seems to justify itself solely by the motive to level down. Mr. Obama suggested as much during a televised campaign debate in April 2008. ABC's Charlie Gibson asked the candidate why he wanted to raise capital gains tax rates even though the experience of the past two presidents—Bill Clinton and George W. Bush—showed that "in each instance, when the rate dropped, revenues from the tax increased; the government took in more money."
Mr. Obama's answer: "Well, Charlie, what I've said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness."
That's the way with most tax-the-rich rhetoric. For all the talk about "fairness," Mr. Obama, Mr. Sanders and their fellow Democrats never really tell us what the magic number for fairness is. Is it 35% of income? 50%? 75%? Though they never commit themselves to an actual number, in each and every case we get the same answer: Taxes should be higher than they are now, for their own sake.
Americans are a more hopeful and less envious people than that. We are now hearing from them. Thus the heart of the tea party's objections to the Beltway status quo is fundamentally a moral one: that Washington is arrogant about how it takes and spends our money. ...
... the politics of higher taxes now rests almost purely on stoking resentment. If Republicans hope to regain the moral high ground, they need to remind citizens that the argument for lower taxes and government that lives within its means is not an argument about numbers or federal revenues. It's an argument about the ability of all our citizens to realize their dreams and opportunities.