from the seriously-guys? dept
Senators Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, and Mike Lee, all hold themselves out to be “constitutional” lawyers. All graduated from law schools and went on to clerk for Supreme Court Justices (Cruz clerked for Rehnquist, Hawley for Roberts, and Lee for Alito — though before he moved to the Supreme Court). And yet, all three have shown that their support for the Constitution they swore to uphold and protect is a little wishy washy when they can build a culture war around it and get some silly press attention. The latest move is their new bill to strip Major League Baseball’s antitrust exemption.
Now, I’ve explained this before, but let me be explicit about it here, because it’s the part that people keep getting tripped up on: I think this is a good idea. It’s silly that Major League Baseball has an antitrust exemption and it should be gotten rid of. There’s no need for it and it’s bad policy that it exists. And if Senators Cruz, Hawley and Lee had simply introduced such a bill, I might even cheer it on.
But… that’s not what they did. They announced it in a manner that makes it blatantly unconstitutional, because they flat out admit that they’re doing it to punish MLB for MLB’s political expression (namely moving the All-Star Game out of Atlanta to protest Georgia’s new voting law). And the Senators don’t even try to hide this or come up with some Potemkin-style façade. They just out and out admit that they’re doing this for unconstitutional reasons:
Following Major League Baseball?s (MLB) decision to relocate the All-Star game from the state of Georgia, U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) will hold a press conference today outlining their legislation to end MLB?s special immunity from antitrust laws.
Here’s the thing that many people are missing: you can do constitutional things for unconstitutional reasons, and it makes the things you do… unconstitutional. In this case, Cruz, Lee, and Hawley are actually making it more difficult to remove MLB’s antitrust exemption, because they’ve just handed MLB an easy response should this bill go anywhere. They can run to court and say that this was clearly vindictive behavior by Congress in response to protected 1st Amendment speech.
So even if you support removing MLB’s antitrust exemption, you should be against this. Because this action, in this way, simply guarantees that if it got traction, it would get tied up in court for years solely due to the statements of Hawley, Cruz, and Lee.
It’s quite likely that none of the three actually care, of course. They’re all just grandstanding for an ignorant base who wants these Senators to embrace “cancelling” Major League Baseball for daring to… care about voting rights. And, in doing so, these three Senators show (yet again) that they’re not interested in actually doing what’s right, or what’s constitutional. They’re only interested in frothing up some grist for an ignorant base who revels in the politics of petty grievances.