Supreme Court: Supreme BlunderSubmitted by Billiameo on Fri, 06/29/2012 - 03:22
Supreme Court upholds Obamacare: The June 28 Supreme Court ruling that the “Affordable Care Act”, also known as “Obamacare”, is constitutional flies in the face of our American Republic. I just finished reading through all 59 pages of Justice Robert's Opinion and most of the rest of the 193 pages of this decision. When the Affordable Care Act (herein after referred to as the ACA) was passed, many of us were sure it would be struck down on its blatantly unconstitutional standing. This ruling then comes as a shock to many that still held some hope from the highest court in the land.
Since the vote was so close, 5 to 4, the question needs to be asked who voted which way and why. Most of the votes were predictable from the onset of this challenge. Chief Justice Roberts' vote, however, not only surprised me but has left me disappointed in someone who was widely known to hold conservative views. He was even appointed by our last Republican president. And yet, when it came down to a tie-breaking vote he chose the side of government growing authoritarians. I don't make this statement lightly as I will quote his own words in his recently penned opinion. This is from page 44 Section D, I have added 1,2,3 numerals and highlighting to add emphasis.
Chief Justice Roberts Opines:
D JUSTICE GINSBURG questions the necessity of rejecting the Government's commerce power argument, given that 5000A can be upheld under the taxing power. Post, at 37. But the statute reads more naturally as a command to buy insurance than as a tax, and
1. I would uphold it as a command if the Constitution allowed it.
2. It is only because the Commerce Clause does not authorize such a command that it is necessary to reach the taxing power question.
3.And it is only because we have a duty to construe a statute to save it, if fairly possible, that 5000A can be interpreted as a tax.
Without deciding the Commerce Clause question, I would find no basis to adopt such a saving construction. The Federal Government does not have the power to order people to buy health insurance. Section 5000A would therefore be unconstitutional if read as a command. The Federal Government does have the power to impose a tax on those without health insurance.
So here you have it, the debate we all had before ACA passed was commerce clause relevance to unconstitutional mandates. Now, however, the government also argues that if that one fails (which it did earlier in the decision) they will simply treat it as a tax instead. So now the “shared responsibility payment” (how Orwellian) is not a “penalty” as actually stated in Obamacare but a tax. All thanks to... you guessed it, legislative action from the bench. They try to argue that it “behaves like a tax” and so it's not a mandate which is clearly wordsmithing.
I would like to address the concerns regarding numbers 1-3 as noted.
1. Shows that it is obviously unconstitutional on its face arriving to the Supreme Court. Jumping through hoops and allowing the government as many arguments as it likes to try and fit a square peg into a round hole shows obvious bias toward the “State”.
2. So the original assertion by ALL of the representatives who voted for Obamacare was that it was covered under the Commerce Clause is blatantly false. End of story. Well it should have been, but another debate was had on another premise without any Representatives involved. That debate, legislative debate mind you, was had in a private chamber with Judges who have historically ruled in favor of the government. It is not a stretch to say that the outcome under those circumstances would have been anything different than what we now have.
3. This one is the most disturbing to me. The mentality of the Supreme Court appears to be one of aiding the legislative branch when they overstep their legal bounds. The words “construe a statute to save it” is where almost all of the legislate from the bench mentality comes from. It is not, I repeat not the duty of the Supreme Court, or any court for that matter, to write, re-write, or “construe” legislation! Their entire purpose is to be a CHECK and BALANCE as a last resort to strike down errant legislation that does not meet simple Constitutional checks. Using precedent from previous rulings that were in themselves unconstitutional does not alter this fact.
The Supreme Court has for many years used its' own historically flummoxed rulings to both reinterpret and water down the original intent of the Constitution. The only way to change that document is by amendment, which is done by the Congress. If Congress cannot pass a bill that matches the rather simple enumerated powers espoused to them then the Supreme Court should not be enabling the passage of these bills by “reconstruction”. Just like the Federal Reserve is the lender of last resort for the U.S. Congress and their governmental largess, so to is the Supreme Court their legislator of last resort. This needs to change.
The current decision also leaves plenty of room for further challenges to this issue as they left the door wide open on a variety of questions. I could go on for a few more pages, but will end here and if anyone has further questions feel free to contact me.
William A. Johnson
Iowa Senate Candidate R50