Thursday, June 28, 2012

Supreme Court Drinks the Kool-Aid

I am amazed that the US Supreme Court has upheld Obamacare, and shocked that John Roberts is the one doing this to us.

The central element of the law is the individual mandate. That is the federal government ordering everyone (apparently excepting Christian Scientists, the Amish, Muslims, and illegal aliens) to purchase insurance. I mocked this idea (using my idea of the Cheeseburger Mandate) before it was made into law. But perhaps I should not have been so quick to mock it. My mandate idea (among many others) may well be passed into law by Congress — always being sure to include a penalty for non-compliance that can be (fraudulently) characterized as a tax.

The formal name of this law — the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” — is truly Orwellian. The bill provides no care, is unaffordable, and gives no protection to patients. It does not support the training of even a single additional doctor but, according to many statements from doctors, will drive many doctors out of medical practice. This law's focus is insurance. Insurance provides no care, but does provide some payment for some care —if you can find it on your own. This law accomplishes none of its purported goals; in fact, it makes every one of those problems worse than they were before. And, while the individual mandate has taken the most fire, the Obamacare law is full of all kinds of mandates, including those in the news more recently that violate individual conscience and religious freedom.

Admirable purported goals, perhaps, resulting in close to the worst possible result.

I am dumbfounded that this law was upheld — doubly so given that the majority ruled that the individual mandate an unconstitutional expansion of the Constitution's commerce clause. What kind of sleight-of-hand and deceit is required to do that, and then to make up a way to allow it — a way that has been denied by all parties to Obamacare — supporters and opponents alike — from the beginning to now? Just as a couple of examples, Obama himself most vehemently insisted the mandate and penalty are absolutely not a tax, and his Administration's lawyer said the same thing in oral arguments before the Supreme Court. But John Roberts says Barack Obama is a liar.

Obama lied to the American people. Again. ... Obama lies; freedom dies.
John Roberts tells us all that the individual mandate and its penalty are a tax — which means Barack Obama (with assistance from Harry Pelosi and Nancy Reid) has rammed through Congress the Barack Obama Tax Hike, which is the largest tax increase in US history — actually, the largest tax increase in the history of the world — and most of it falls on the middle class.
And isn't it ironic that Roberts was urged to uphold Obamacare or be attacked as illegitimate, but with this flip-flop and apparent late vote change has undermined the Court's legitimacy and demonstrated that the Supreme Court will succumb to political pressure. “[W]hile liberal critics were quick to accuse the Court of playing politics by taking seriously the Obamacare challenges, it may turn out that it was only politics that saved the ACA [a.k.a. Obamacare].”

Today's ruling effectively removes all restraints on government control of its American subjects. The result is almost the same as if the Court had ruled the mandate permissible under the commerce clause. The only difference is that now Congress will accompany each new requirement with a tax increase and/or a penalty that can be painted as a tax increase. As Justices Alito, Thomas, Kennedy, and Scalia told the Court's left wing, “You've extended federal power to virtually everything.” And Gateway Pundit's Jim Hoft captures today's reality:

The Supreme Court ruled Obamacare mandate UNCONSTITUTIONAL today but it Survives As A Tax!!
UPDATE: An insightful comment from before the decision was announced:
Even by a decision of five to four, the Supreme Court will throw an extraordinary spanner into the machinery of U.S. government, if significant parts of ObamaCare are struck down. Conversely, even by five to four, a decision to uphold could effectively erase the U.S. citizen’s last line of defence against absolute power.
UPDATE, TOO (from the Court):
In answering that question we must, if "fairly possible," construe the provision to be a tax rather than a mandate-with-penalty, since that would render it constitutional rather than unconstitutional (ut res magis valeat quam pereat).
But, I would say, except when such an interpretation has been explicitly disavowed in the statute itself and in its legislative history. Congress and the President have consistently and absolutely insisted the mandate penalty is absolutely not a tax. To “reinterpret” as a tax the penalty for violating the law, under these circumstances, is clearly impermissible malpractice. The Court's own record and history make this clear, too.
In a few cases, this Court has held that a "tax" imposed upon private conduct was so onerous as to be in effect a penalty. But we have never held — never — that a penalty imposed for violation of the law was so trivial as to be in effect a tax. We have never held that any exaction imposed for violation of the law is an exercise of Congress' taxing power — even when the statute calls it a tax, much less when (as here) the statute repeatedly calls it a penalty.
The Supreme Court has never rewritten a law to turn a penalty into a tax. Never until today, that is.


Justice Antonin Scalia along with Justices Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito wrote a very impressive dissent that Chief Justice Roberts should have also joined. As the four justices said, Obamacare “exceeds federal power both in mandating the purchase of health insurance and in denying non-consenting States all Medicaid funding.

These parts of the Act are central to its design and operation, and the Act’s other provisions would not have been enacted without them. In our view it must follow that the entire statute is inoperative.” With just one more vote, the entire bill would have been declared null and void as unconstitutional.

. . .

With the failure of the judicial process, the only thing left to do now is to get rid of Obamacare legislatively. Congress passed this monstrosity, and the only path to lifting it [this onerous new Obama tax increase] from the backs of the American taxpayer is through the legislative process. That means that legislators should vote again to repeal all of Obamacare.

So we have come full circle. Congress is responsible for the mess that the Supreme Court has refused to clean up, and that leaves Congress with the responsibility to clean it up. Otherwise, they can be sure that voters will be watching.

And, hopefully, the voters will, firmly, “throw the bastards out”.

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