More judicial activism, please

Richard Mourdock, the Indiana state treasurer who has been criticized for contesting the terms of the Chrysler bailout, notes that “no critic has ever challenged us on the points of law.” Indiana’s pension funds for retired teachers and state police officers were among Chrysler’s secured creditors. It has been settled law that secured creditors, as compensation for lending money at rates lower than the borrowing company’s condition might justify, are first in line to be paid in the event of bankruptcy. Indiana’s funds and other secured creditors received less per dollar than did an unsecured creditor, the United Auto Workers, which also got 55 percent ownership of Chrysler. So the government is simultaneously subsidizing Italians and injuring retired Hoosiers.

The Supreme Court has said nothing about “bailout law,” a phrase that currently is an oxymoron. America as Bailout Nation is governed by unconstrained executive discretion.