Skip to comments.Chief Justice Robertsís Folly
Posted on 06/28/2012 3:46:37 PM PDT by neverdem
In todays deeply disappointing decision on Obamacare, a majority of the Supreme Court actually got the Constitution mostly right. The Commerce Clause the part of the Constitution that grants Congress the authority to regulate commerce among the states does not authorize the federal government to force Americans to buy health insurance. The Court, by a 54 margin, refused to join all the august legal experts who insisted that of course it granted that authorization, that only yahoos and Republican partisans could possibly doubt it. It then pretended that this requirement is constitutional anyway, because it is merely an application of the taxing authority. Rarely has the maxim that the power to tax is the power to destroy been so apt, a portion of liberty being the direct object in this case.
What the Court has done is not so much to declare the mandate constitutional as to declare that it is not a mandate at all, any more than the mortgage-interest deduction in the tax code is a mandate to buy a house. Congress would almost surely have been within its constitutional powers to tax the uninsured more than the insured. Very few people doubt that it could, for example, create a tax credit for the purchase of insurance, which would have precisely that effect. But Obamacare, as written, does more than that. The law repeatedly speaks in terms of a requirement to buy insurance, it says that individuals shall buy it, and it levies a penalty on those who refuse. As the conservative dissent points out, these are the hallmarks of a regulatory penalty, not a tax.
The law as written also cuts off all federal Medicaid funds for states that decline to expand the program in the ways the lawmakers sought. A majority of the Court, including two of the liberals, found this cut-off unconstitutionally coercive on the states. The Courts solution was not to invalidate the law or the Medicaid expansion, but to rule that only the extra federal funds devoted to the expansion could be cut off. As the dissenters rightly point out, this solution rewrites the law and arbitrarily, since Congress could have avoided the constitutional problem in many other ways.
The dissent acknowledges that if an ambiguous law can be read in a way that renders it constitutional, it should be. It distinguishes, though, between construing a law charitably and rewriting it. The latter is what Chief Justice John Roberts has done. If Roberts believes that this tactic avoids damage to the Constitution because it does not stretch the Commerce Clause to justify a mandate, he is mistaken. The Constitution does not give the Court the power to rewrite statutes, and Roberts and his colleagues have therefore done violence to it. If the law has been rendered less constitutionally obnoxious, the Court has rendered itself more so. Chief Justice Roberts cannot justly take pride in this legacy.
The Court has failed to do its duty. Conservatives should not follow its example which is what they would do if they now gave up the fight against Obamacare. The law, as rewritten by judges, remains incompatible with the countrys tradition of limited government, the future strength of our health-care system, and the nations solvency. We are not among those who are convinced that we will be stuck with it forever if the next election goes wrong: The law is also so poorly structured that we think it may well unravel even if put fully into effect. But we would prefer not to take the risk.
It now falls to the Republicans, and especially to Mitt Romney, to make the case for the repeal of the law and for its replacement by something better than either it or the health-care policies that preceded it. Instead of trusting experts to use the federal governments purchasing power to drive efficiency throughout the health sector the vain hope of Obamacares Medicare-cutting board they should replace Medicare with a new system in which individuals have incentives to get value for their dollar. Instead of having Washington establish a cartel for the insurance industry, they should give individuals tax credits and the ability to purchase insurance across state lines. Instead of further centralizing the health-care system, in short, they should give individuals more control over their insurance.
Opponents should take heart: The law remains unpopular. Let the president and his partisans ring their bells today, and let us work to make sure that they are wringing their hands come November.
Now they can tax us for anything. Will you have to pay a special tax to own a gun? Will there be a special tax to vote? Of course they pick and choose who to tax and for whatever reason there is nothing objective in their methods. They could slap a property tax on just about anything you own. They can even tax you for things you don’t own or choose not to purchase. This is absolute insanity.
Yep, if you don’t but a union made product your screwed.
I’m thiking the same thing. Now we can be taxed for not doing or buying something.
If it is a tax, it’s a Direct Tax which is unConstitutional.
But we live in a post-Constitutional Republic.
Belong to a church that frowns upon queer “marriage”?
Pay the tax, infidel!
This question about Roberts isn’t a mystery and there’s no conspiracy, you just have to think about it for a second. Presidents appoint justices that fit their ideology. Bush was pro-life (Roberts is), pro-gun (Roberts is), pro-marriage (Roberts is), pro corporate spending (Roberts is). He was also an illegal lover (Roberts is) and a big spender on healthcare laws (Roberts is). He’s voting the same way GWB would if he was a SCOTUS judge.
Regardless, he betrayed the Constitution and his actions, and those who sided with him are traitorous.
And if that doesn't give you a warm fuzzy, I don't know what will!!!
next we’ll be forced to buy solar panels
Roberts' opinion actually discusses the "Direct Tax" issue, and holds that only two things are a "Direct Tax": a property tax and a capitation. It also holds that this is not a "capitation," because that means only a flat tax on every person without exception.
I am sick to my stomach. This is a dark day for the republic.
Someone with PhotoShop skills...please rework the old “Dallas” promo...replace Hagman’s face with the chief justice’s and caption it: “Who bought JR?”
Roberts could have easily and justifiably ended at least on of the chapters of misery and cliff hanging uncertainty that has burdened this country for too, too long.
He manipulated what the administration and lousy congress and spinate swore was not a tax into being a tax for his convenience. Why? Only he and God know. His logic is so twisted and perverted that one quickly and easily is drawn to the conclusion that he acted in some self-interest.
There are so many trying spin this as good and justify Robert’s treason. I think they protest too much. I smell crap.
As for me and my house, may John Roberts rot in hell and go down in history as a traitor to the principles of freedom, the Republic and the Constitution. All three of these seem to be taking a long walk off of a short pier. I hope that he has a long and miserable life... a short one would be too good for him. If there is justice he will agonize and regret this decision for eternity.
It seems to me that as bad as the USSC upholding commiecare was, something really positive came out of it.
Most of the laws that come out of Washington that expand government and tramp on the 10th amendment are based on the commence clause. While it may be true that the feds can force us to buy toothpaste... There not going to be able to justify it with the commence clause, and they are very unlikely to want to call it a tax.
Taking away the commence clause crutch is going to make it very difficult for congress to justify the constitutionally of a large portion of the laws and regs that come out of Washington.
I’ve said this before. I hope Roberts burns in hell.
Look this is judicial activism writ large. Roberts has no power to rewrte statutes. He is as lawless as Obama and should beheld in contempt by all thinking people.
We haven't heard the slogan, "IMPEACH THE CHIEF JUDTICE" since Earl Warren's tenure. Guess its time to renew the cry.
This is convoluted and insane, but we now live with it. Thank you Roberts you JackA$$!
More crap in this article.
Its Robertscare now. He bought it. He owns it.
They don’t have to call it a tax. Call it a penalty and Roberts will pretend it is a tax!
Which is why I neither supported, nor voted for Duh-bya.
Like his daddy before him, he never met a big-government snake oil he didn't... LOVE!
The constitution has been betrayed. The rule of law has been betrayed. The American people have been lied to and betrayed. The Republic has not been kept. A dangerous world is one step closer to the end of all freedom. Limitless government is forcing its power and reach to control every aspect of our lives. Well everyone one of you in government can just kiss my a$$.
“Taking away the commence clause crutch is going to make it very difficult for congress to justify the constitutionally of a large portion of the laws and regs that come out of Washington.”
naa Congress will call it under commerce clause and the SC will call it a tax for them and make everything work out.
What does obama have on roberts?
“They dont have to call it a tax. Call it a penalty and Roberts will pretend it is a tax!”
There are tens of thousands of federal laws and regulations on the books today based on the commerce clause. Things that have nothing to do with interstate commerce...
Conservatives -- and especially Republicans -- have no reason to be disappointed in a ruling that was handed down by a Supreme Court justice who was nominated by a guy who would have been 100% on board with the ruling.
“There are tens of thousands of federal laws and regulations on the books today based on the commerce clause. Things that have nothing to do with interstate commerce...”
I’d be happier if those laws were repealed by this ruling but they’re not.
I can think of a few reasons why Judge Roberts decided as he did.
First, he said that, it’s not the role of the Supreme Court to protect the people from the consequences of the political decisions which the people make. In that sense, he’s punishing the people for voting in the people who created and voted for Obamacare. (Never mind that, the rest of the people who didn’t vote for the commiecrats, are also being punished). In that sense, Roberts might be thinking the way I feel, which is, that the people won’t learn the tough lessons of socialism, until they find themselves in deep depression and desperation, or like a Greece.
Then, Judge Roberts may be forcing Obama and the democrats to have to defend Obamacare and their tax and spend policies, during this coming election, and if the people are smart and notice the dangers the country is headed towards, then Obama will be voted out, and many other democrats will lose their seats.
Also, keeping Obamacare as an election issue, is one way to help replace Obama, and, Roberts might be feeling confident that, with a republican congress and a “republican” president, that Obamacare will be repealed, and therefore, still meeting the death it well deserved.
So, Roberts might have been planning to kill two birds with one stone, Obama and Obamacare, while teaching the people a well-deserved lesson that stupidity deserves.
I think he frequents the same bathhouse that he and Rahm go to.
Once again, he voted AGAINST Scalia, and voted WITH Kagan. There is no other spin than that.
never trust judges...
throw the swine out...
I just wish the SC was on the side of the people...but its not...
I want to stay and fight for this country, and frankly don't know of any other place to go except maybe Canada....but geesh...its getting hard to be a patriot...
I know....its hard to learn to be a bastard but what are ya going to do?
I agree roberts should rot in hell! It was totally despicable what he did, siding with four morons and being a judicial activist from the bench. He now has cast his lot with the commie side of the court and he deserves to be spat upon. The poor commie roberts was “concerned” about the partisan court in his name so he decides to punish Americans.
Roberts is a worthless liberal that Bush put on the court. This SOB looked for a way to make Commiecare work. When Bush nominated this smirking creep to the US Supreme Court, and as the CHIEF JUSTICE to boot, over more senior people like Alito and Scalia, I started doing some background investigation on this unknown judge. I found out he was a junior judge, having no experience whatsover to qualify him for the highest court in the land. I also found out that when he was a practicing lawyer he represented some sdomites who took their case to the Supreme Court. That’s right, Roberts was a lawyer that took the side of the immoral degenerates. This is the second time this year he has sided with the liberals in a ruling. The other one was on immigration this year. So when the Roberts fans try to explain anyway this betrayal, just remember this creep has always been a liberal and his true colors are coming out now.
Also saying the Stolen Valor Act is unconstitutional overrides Congress who approved it under Bush with an overwhelming majority. So now I think I’ll buy me a cop uniform and pretend to be cop. I’ll stop women and tell them to give it up or they are going to jail. I’ll show the girl my medal of honor I won during the Tet Offensive.
Afterall it’s my free speech and I have a right to lie about anything I want to lie about it.
“Id be happier if those laws were repealed by this ruling but theyre not.”
Many of them probably could be on appeal...
Roberts’ decision is like the surgeon about whom it can be said that, “The operation was a success, but the patient died.”
That’s the problem—even when Republican Presidents try to appoint conservative justices to the Supreme Court, often either they turn out to be liberals (Blackmun, Powell, Souter) or they turn squishy (Roberts), whereas the liberals picked by Democrat Presidents always remain consistently liberal.
It is not Robert’s job to teach us a lesson. His job is to interpret the law as it stands and decide if it is constitutional.
The individual mandate was not constitutional and there was no severability clause, so the whole bill should have been thrown out. It is not Robert’s job to change mandate to mean tax just to try and pass the bill.
Bingo, this ruling has opened the door to revist the constutionality of much of the Great Society and FDR...
Roberts rewrote the freakin’ law. If that’s not the most flagrant example of legislating from the bench in the history of the court, then I don’t know what is.
So far as Romney being our great hope...
Romney is just more of the same. I guarantee we will get a stall, rope-a-dope, 4 corners obfuscation out of ANY Gop-E president. IOW, no different than if it were a Democrat.
America needs to get rid of its one party system.
When I started reading about Solyndra manufacturing solar panels that were more expensive than the Chinese competition I wondered: How can that make any sense? It made sense if by 2011 (when Solyndra and others began to unravel) the government could order the public to buy solar panels. If Democrats had held onto Congress in 2010 it might have happened.
Interesting background. I didn’t know that.
I’ve been utterly disgusting all day, after being sickened the other day with his rulings.
I sincerely believe this country has now crossed the line to where there’s no return.
What have you been smoking?