By pulling off one of the greatest split decisions of all time, Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the liberal wing of the Supreme Court and upheld the constitutionality of Obamacare. While I am pleased the court upheld the conservative argument against the never-ending expansion of the commerce clause interpretation, it still found a narrow dodge to validate the mandate portion of the law, by ruling it as the governments proper exercise of tax authority.
That’s not how I would have ruled. I think the “mandate is merely a tax” argument is a dodge, and a flimsy one at that. The “tax” is obviously punitive, regulatory and intended to compel. Justice Roberts may be proud to have tamed the commerce clause monster, but in doing so has exposed a new route for authoritarian government.
Essentially, our liberties have narrowly avoided being struck by further perversions of the commerce clause, punishing those who do not comply with the demands of government. But, in the process… liberty was struck by an authority to tax people into compliance. For those who may not understand, the court finally set a limit to the government’s power under the commerce clause, though still far more excessive than the constitution intended, but then opened a new door allowing the government to dictate every aspect of your life through the threat of tax punishment. Interpreting the individual mandate as merely a tax, something generally within the power of Congress, makes congressional power effectively unlimited. The liberties of the individual has now been replaced by the manipulations of the individual.
(Score: government = 1 / people = 1)
Now, there is only one way Obamacare can be overturned. The same way it was passed: elect a new president and a new Congress. That’s undoubtedly what Roberts is saying: Your job, not mine. He found constitutional authority for the law, but won’t make the ruling if its good law, a tie-breaker election can decide that.
Remember the saying, “There ought to be a law.” Well, there ought to be a constitutional amendment, maybe there ought to be two or three. First to disallow punitive taxation, second to redefine commerce regulation to mean just that, and maybe a third to deal -w- that “eminent domain for private use” thing (yeah, still pissed about that one)
Is it just me, or does the court seem to distort the original intent of the constitution every time there is a major “power of government” case before it?