Skip to comments.Missing Chief Justice Rehnquist
Posted on 07/04/2012 10:30:13 PM PDT by Republican Wildcat
Last weeks switch in time by Chief Justice John Roberts that saved the socialist takeover of healthcare in America made me reminisce about former Chief Justice William Rehnquist (1924-2005). The point was driven home even further by an article in The Atlantic featuring a lengthy 2007 interview with Chief Justice Roberts that should have raised a lot of red flags. (One should have been raised marking Roberts really poor historical acumen.) For example, it contains this jarring observation: Roberts suggested that the temperament of a chief justice can be as important as judicial philosophy in determining his success or failure. Seriously?
William Rehnquist was known for being a great administrator of the Court and an excellent colleague, but I dont think he would ever have misunderstood that a justices primary duty lies in being consistently faithful to the original meaning of the Constitution in some sense. Apparently, Justice Roberts believes he swore an oath to the Supreme Court not the Constitution. It is unimaginable that William Rehnquist would have behaved as Roberts did in the Obamacare case.
(Excerpt) Read more at frcblog.com ...
He has a point, kind of. A chief justice with the best legal philosophies but whose people skills stank might have trouble selling those philosophies to wobbly colleagues.
But that has nothing to do with the Obamacare decision debacle.
Where did he make such a point?
In hindsight, that strategy to replace Roberts’ appointment as associate to replace O’Connor and bump him up to Chief after Rehnquist passed away to avoid an extra confirmation battle (appointing a sitting justice for a total of three confirmation battles in a row) was not the best decision...Roberts was not prepared or qualified to start out as Chief as we can clearly see from his conduct in this case and what he apparently saw his role as in being the Chief to try to get favorable press for the Court from the media and the far left talking heads in academia (if we assume the reports from the alleged leaks are true...which if they were not, you would think the Court would be denouncing them...the lack of denials speaks volumes to me). It seemed like a genius chess move on Bush’s part at the time to undercut Leahy and company’s shenanigans...but not now. Hindsight is always 20/20, of course.
There have been untold numbers of articles since the day the republic was murdered by Roberts. Most question why he ruled as he did. Some suggested blackmail. Still others questioned his sanity or his mental health. Some even reasoned that he was homosexual or he illegally sdopted his children.
All the written words boil down to this: JOHN ROBERTS IS A LIAR. He is so concerned about his legacy; well, he has cemented it. There is nothing he can do in the future that will change what he has done.
We can no longer trust any judge, any politician or any bureaucrat. We are today a nation of men and not laws. Act accordingly.
If Roberts really thinks the Chief Justice is perceived as the public face of the USSC, he’s got a vastly puffed up ego.
All of the justices are the face. Thomas is a bit of a shy face, but he still shows it.
He sure seemed to deem it better to be clever than to make the correct choice between the alternatives presented to the court. If even Kennedy flat out panned Obamacare as unconstitutional, then one can’t really find any excuse for Roberts.
Happy Dependance Day!
Thanks John Roberts - traitor to the Constitution.
Many here pushed for Judge Janice Brown. She might well have been another Clarence Thomas.
I want to know if it was a threat, or a bribe that got to Roberts?
I doubt the stories are true. But that is of little matter, people will believe what they want to believe.
I wish Roberts had ruled otherwise, but I don’t understand why people think this is such an irrational ruling.
For years, the federal government has practiced a policy of a universal mandate, through the use of tax deductions for the purchase of medical insurance. Each year, my employer gets to write off on taxes the amount they pay for my insurance. And each year, my insurance premiums are listed as “pre-tax”, meaning for each dollar I pay, I get a 28 cent payback from the government.
If one assumed that taxes were collected sufficient to cover the cost of government (and clearly they are not), the result of these tax policies is that everybody who does NOT purchase health insurance is paying enough extra taxes to cover the 28% of my premium that I get back in tax deductions, for every person who buys health insurance.
And I’ve never seen any conservatives complaining about how the federal government is forcing them to buy health care by taxing them more if they don’t.
And Roberts is entirely correct about the practical matter — congress could have easily raised everybody’s taxes by $5000 a year, since they have that right. Then, they could have easily given everybody who purchased just the right type of insurance a tax credit of $5000. Thus “penalizing” everybody who didn’t buy the right insurance with a $5000 tax “penalty”.
For example, everybody who doesn’t by an alternative fuel vehicle pays a tax penalty, equal to the amount everybody who DOES buy such a vehicle gets in tax credits.
When I bought my new air conditioner, because I bought the “right” kind, I got a $1500 tax credit. Guess what — that means that all the rest of you were penalized by the amount needed to reduce MY tax liability by $1500.
My point is, the government has been using tax policy for years to encourage specific behavior, and frankly, conservatives have only complained on the margins. Heck, I’ve seen hatred from conservatives when people suggest getting rid of the biggest government mandate of all — home ownership. Even when that mandate caused much of our financial problems, conservatives balk at removing that mandate (which makes every non-homeonwer pay more to cover the taxes not paid by homeowners deducting their mortgage insurance).
And of course, first-time homeowners get a huge tax credit, which means all the rest of us have to pay higher taxes to make up for the lost taxes.
Yes, Roberts should have ruled that congress made the tax a “penalty”, and therefore it was unconstitutional. But imagine if something conservatives really wanted, like deporting illegals, was up on some technicality, we’d want the court to pay deference to the legislative branch rather than throw out a law on such a technicality.
In some ways, things are cleaner now. We know that Obamacare is a huge tax inscrease for every american, one they can only avoid if they buy government-approved health insurance. If we don’t like that, we need first to get a congress that will repeal Obamacare, and then we need a constitutional amendment that makes it illegal for the federal government to make any tax or credit that does not broadly apply to people regardless of their specific choices.
We won’t be able to stop progressive taxation, but we need to stop the federal government from picking winners and losers through tax deductions and tax credits. And Robert’s Obamacare ruling helps clarify that need. And also helps us win the election, because we need to do so to reverse Obamacare.
Meanwhile, if Obamacare had been wiped out, Obama would have run on re-instating it through the use of tax policy just as Roberts ruled; the liberals would have had a reason to come to the polls and vote, and conservatives might have rested on their laurels.
As to the issue of whether Roberts switched to help the court, it makes little sense in a 5-4 ruling; if he had a way to rule that would make a 4-5 go to a 7-2, it might make sense. But why jump from one 5-4 majority to an equally rediculous 5-4 majority?
[KH] Where did he make such a point?
Here, perhaps? I think this is the statement on point:
“Roberts suggested that the temperament of a chief justice can be as important as judicial philosophy in determining his success or failure.”
Scalia, Alito, Thomas, and even Kennedy all understood this. They sought to establish a clear limit on not just the commerce clause but also on taxation powers. It is Kelo all over again.
Roberts betrayed us.
This case is about the taxing power of Congress under Article I, Section 8, Clause 1. It does not involve the 16th Amendment. Mortgage deductions et al are 16th A. issues.
Ah, so he did.
“If one assumed that taxes were collected sufficient to cover the cost of government (and clearly they are not), the result of these tax policies is that everybody who does NOT purchase health insurance is paying enough extra taxes to cover the 28% of my premium that I get back in tax deductions, for every person who buys health insurance.”
You are quite correct. In that regard, every person WITH insurance actually costs society MORE than every person WITHOUT insurance. Which is why the claim that the mandate was intended to prevent free-riding was a joke. http://www.aei.org/article/health/healthcare-reform/alitos-correct-the-individual-mandate-was-never-about-saving-money/
That said, the mandate certainly wasn’t structured as a tax. First, as you note, people already were being “taxed” for not having group health coverage. If Congress wished to make the current tax exclusion universal, it could have done so simply by tweaking the existing language of the tax code to extent it to all forms of HI coverage rather than just employer-sponsored policies. But it did not do this.
Second, Section 1501 was explicitly justified within the statute as a regulation of interstate commerce (search for “1501” here: http://www.ncsl.org/documents/health/ppaca-consolidated.pdf)
Third, there is a difference in the expected behavioral response between a tax and a penalty. Congressional Budget Office, Will Health Insurance Mandates Increase Coverage?Synthesizing Perspectives from the Literature in Health Economics, Tax Compliance, and Behavioral Economics http://www.cbo.gov/publication/21600. If something is structured as a penalty, people are more likely to comply, since many people don’t like “breaking the law” regardless of the size of the penalty involved. In contrast, if you structure it as a tax, i.e., you get a tax break if you decide to buy health insurance but lose that benefit—pay more tax—if you don’t, many more will feel comfortable not complying. CBO scored this as a penalty, not a tax etc.
I agree with those who say Roberts essentially rewrote the statute in order to make it pass constitutional muster. I find that deeply concerning.
Roberts will forever be remembered as making it possible for the USA to instates Death Panels to rid the government of undesirables. What a horrible legacy.
Which in turn is what the brouhaha in the lede article was about.
Maybe someday someone will ask Roberts why he went to this trouble. In order to even DO it, he had to be a glutton for the “cruel and unusual punishment” that Antonin Scalia complained about. Ah look how bright I am! (Breaks into song) To parse the unparsable beast, To embrace a liberal quartet, To show that my brain has not ceased To keep all its nooks going yet!
Two things stand out about Rehnquist. He insisted on remaining on the court for some one to two years after his health had collapsed.
He seem really bored and put out having to hear the Clinton impeachment case. He did not demand that Trent Lott put up the evidence.
On your point about tax vs penalty and compliance, the one good thing about Robert’s ruling is that we all now can treat this as a simple tax choice, and not feel guilty about not having insurance.
Hey tuckrdout, isn’t it something how some people do things under the “cover of darkness”