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Megan McArdle

Supreme Court 2, Word Magic 0

Today’s Supreme Court rulings offer two examples of the dangers of relying on magical thinking.
A whole heap of "no."
A whole heap of "no."

Yesterday, I wrote about businesses that try what I've dubbed the Rumpelstiltskin Gambit. The idea is that, through semantic wizardry, you can make an otherwise illegal business into legal gold, invoking the magic words that make the legal objections go "poof!" I pointed out that this strategy sometimes works, but it sometimes results in your business going "poof!" instead -- as happened to Aereo Inc. last night.

Today's U.S. Supreme Court rulings offer two examples of how the Rumpelstiltskin Gambit can also backfire on politicians. In two unanimous decisions, the court voided President Barack Obama's recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board, then struck down a Massachusetts law that had forced protesters to stay 35 feet away from the entrance to an abortion clinic.