The big news out of Washington last week: the swift resignation of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius – a lickety-split split from the Obama Administration in that the news was dropped late on Thursday, followed the next day by a goodbye ceremony at the White House, at which time her replacement was introduced.
Sebelius’ departure is the classic Washington whodunit. Did she leave on her own accord, as do many a cabinet secretary in a second presidential term? Or, now that Obamacare can claim its 7 million signees, was the head of HHS a pre-Easter sacrificial lamb for those who’ve been calling for her head?
(Appropriate for the manager of the Obama Administration’s troubled healthcare law, even her farewell remarks had a noticeable glitch)
Here’s yet another way to look at life after Sebelius: it’s the question of justice – spelled with both a lower- and upper-case “j”.
As for lower-case justice, the argument here is the resignation is months overdue. Sebelius could have/should have stepped down sometime around last Halloween, right after Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander called for her to resign, seconding 32 House Republicans calling for the same. Alexander’s not exactly a bomb-thrower. Instead, he offered a very reasonable rationale: as HHS Secretary, it was Sebelius’ responsibility to oversee the rollout of the new federal health insurance website – a techno-blunder that Sebelius would later try to brush off as “miserably frustrating”.
But Washington being Washington – no culture of shame, no one walking the gangplank unless the ship’s already sinking – Sebelius didn’t step down. At least, not for another five-plus half months.
Not exactly justice denied, but certainly justice delayed.
As for upper-case justice, that would be Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whose future isn’t a whodunit. It’s a “when’s-she-gonna-do-it?”.