Free Markets, Free People

ObamaCare: The fallout

I’ve read all the pundits and listened to all the talking head elite tell us how incredibly nuanced and subtle the Chief Justice was by approving the law as a tax.  In fact one described him as “"a chess master, a statesman, a Burkean minimalist, a battle-loser but war-winner, a Daniel Webster for our times."

I say “BS”.  He sold out.  He ended up being more worried about the perception of the court and his legacy than upholding the Constitution of the United States.  And I’m not the only one who feels that way.  The Wall Street Journal also throws a punch or two at Roberts:

His ruling, with its multiple contradictions and inconsistencies, reads if it were written by someone affronted by the government’s core constitutional claims but who wanted to uphold the law anyway to avoid political blowback and thus found a pretext for doing so in the taxing power.

If this understanding is correct, then Chief Justice Roberts behaved like a politician, which is more corrosive to the rule of law and the Court’s legitimacy than any abuse it would have taken from a ruling that President Obama disliked. The irony is that the Chief Justice’s cheering section is praising his political skills, not his reasoning. Judges are not supposed to invent political compromises.

"It is not our job," the Chief Justice writes, "to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices." But the Court’s most important role is to protect liberty when the political branches exceed the Constitution’s bounds, not to bless their excesses in the interests of political or personal expediency or both. On one of the most consequential cases he will ever hear, Chief Justice Roberts failed this most basic responsibility.

Precisely.  And Roberts caved.  From the lecture the court got from Obama during a State of the Union address till now, he became a cautious old lady more concerned with his reputation in perpetuity than serving the people and the Constitution he swore to uphold. 

That, as the WSJ says, is “more corrosive to the rule of law and the Court’s legitimacy” than anything he could have done.  He didn’t have the spine to take the heat from a controversial but proper decision so he took the easy way out.  He threw away his integrity for popularity and peace.   A judicial Chamberlin if you will.

Jacob Sullum at Reason gives you the rest of the bad news:

The Journal notes that the tax power endorsed by Roberts is no less sweeping and dangerous to liberty than the Commerce Clause argument he rejected. "From now on," it says, "Congress can simply regulate interstate commerce by imposing ‘taxes’ whenever someone does or does not do something contrary to its desires." Worse, as I pointed out last week, the tax trick allows Congress to dispense with claims about interstate commerce altogether. As long as a mandate is disguised as a tax (and as long as it does not violate explicit limits on federal power such as those listed in the Bill of Rights), "because we said so" is reason enough.

Mandates “disguised as a tax” give Congress almost limitless power to control your life.  That is the power Roberts handed our elected officials. 

Oh, but the apologists say, that will never happen.  They’d never abuse that power.  Yeah, a little lesson in history.   When the Constitutional amendment for the income tax was being debated some wanted to put a 2% limit on it. “Don’t do that,” the others said, “it will encourage Congress to immediately go that high.”

And here we are.

The Congress no longer need wrestle with intrusion in your life via the Commerce clause.  Justice Roberts just gave them an infinitely easier route that doesn’t require a Constitutional check.  He effectively removed the Court from its role in protecting you from increasing government intrusion.

And clever politicians will find a way to use that power he handed them when necessary.  Don’t you ever doubt that.

As for Roberts.  I have little or no use for a man who sits on the bench of the Supreme Court and puts politics in front of the Constitution he’s sworn to uphold.


Twitter: @McQandO

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12 Responses to ObamaCare: The fallout

  • “He ended up being more worried about the perception of the court and his legacy than upholding the Constitution of the United States.”
    Well, I’d say his legacy has been firmly established.  He’ll end up in history with Justice Taney.

  • Wait until Roberts rules with conservatives again on any matter.  The left will tear him apart just as if the Obamacare ruling had never happened.  If you have to buy friends with a vote than they will dispactch you as soon as you dont vote their way.  That is a lesson that roberts, McCain, Romney and others should have learned by now.

  • And so Roberts begins his Souteresque and O’Connerian journey of the soul, seeking enlightenment on the wonders and joys of finding rationalizations for collectivism.
    I suppose when one’s soul is so empty that it craves the approval of the mediocre thinkers in media and academia, anything will do to fill it up.

  • From some of the accounts, Kennedy and the conservatives are so pissed at Roberts it is dubious he has any creds with them.
    What a sorry, shameful chapter in our history.  This is Wickard, out of Roe-style “reasoning”.

  • So, buck up, we win beeg victory in November, keep house and take Senate by beeg majority.  Win White House.  Strike down Obamatax and pass an amendment to prevent Congress from taking advantages of Roberts loony ruling on penalty taxing and….

    Okay, enough fantasy for one paragraph.

  • If a penalty is a tax, I guess then I can claim traffic tickets under “Taxes Other”

    • I DO look forward to the oncoming tax year for precisely this reason.  You can bet someone is going to try this.

  • Politically, it’s tyranny. Constitutionally, it’s unconstitutional.1. The US Constitution does NOT permit FORCING US citizens to purchase ANYTHING!;2. The US Constitution does not permit TAXATION without authorization from the PEOPLE.OBAMA IS THE ENEMY AND NOW WE SEE AND KNOW IT!“The individual mandate survives as a tax.”The Cost Of Defying Obamacare: $2,250 a Month And IRS Goons Pointing Guns At Your Family16,500 new tax collectors with “combat training” and pump action shotgunswill enforce “the change we seek”

    • Captain, While I agree with your sentiment, the People have given their approval for this tax by sending their representatives to DC to enact this law.  You don’t like the law, talk to your eleceted representative.  Your elected rep doesn’t care/listen, get rid of him/her.  Our Constitution, or the founding ideas behind the Constituton have been under attack almost from the time of the document’s inception.  Through the legal perversion of “precedent” (using previous incorrect judicial opinions to justify new incorrect opinions) to misinterpretaions of the 14th Amendment to the killers of the 16th and 17th Amendments, our Constitution no longer provides for the union envisioned by our founders, in fact had the founders had to vote on this document in its current form, in James Madison’s words:”… the Constitution would never have been ratified.”  I propose that the Constitution no longer provides the protections you think it does.  To find those protections perhaps you should look to the Declaration of Independence.

  • The interesting part of this is that the ruling comes down just before a major holiday where people are more concerned getting packed and on the road than being outraged about what comes out of Washington.  This is the type of thing you expect more from Congress or Presidents.

  • You don’t still watch the ‘talking heads’ on television to get your information, do you?  I gave up on them years ago.  As it stands now, the Supreme Court is as politicalized as the Congress or the Presidency.  The Court has long since ceased it’s idealized purpose of impartial interpretation of laws within the strictures of the Constitution.  Just because you, as an ultra-conservative, don’t agree with their ruling, that makes Justice Roberts a sell-out.