The Supreme Court finally ruled on the constitutionality of ObamaCare, with Chief Justice John Roberts apparently switching his vote at the last minute to break with the originalists and conservatives on the Court to uphold the individual mandate as a ‘tax’. The Council and our invited guests weigh in:
Robert Avrech from Seraphic Secret: Massive migraine. Let me add a more serious thought, a d’var Torah:
After King Solomon died, his son Reẖav’am ascended to kingship over Israel. Led by Jerobam, the people begged the new king to lessen the burden of taxes.
The new king declared:
“Whereas my father laid upon you a heavy yoke, so shall I add tenfold thereto. Whereas my father chastised (tortured) you with whips, so shall I chastise you with scorpions. For my littlest finger is thicker than my father’s loins; and your backs, which bent like reeds at my father’s touch, shall break like straws at my own touch.”
In short, more taxes.
The people, led by Jeroboam, rebelled with ten tribes breaking away from the Israelite confederation.
Ultimately this led to the downfall of the First Jewish Commonwealth.
The Noisy Room: After I got over the shock of the ruling, I felt intense anger at being betrayed. Justice Robert’s surely screwed the pooch on this one. He was either threatened or he is a Progressive coward and I think it is the latter. I have listened to others who want to give him the benefit of the doubt, but I’m sorry. I just can’t. He knowingly ruled that Obamacare is a tax and that the government has the power to tax which is constitutional. Let’s forget that the 16th Amendment should be repealed for a moment. The Supreme Court just gave the good-to-go nod for Obama to implement the largest tax in American history. One that if put into use will surely break the back of a once great nation. It also gives the government absolute authority to compel just about any action using taxation as a weapon and the IRS as their jack booted thuggish army. How very Atlas Shrugged. How very Marxist.
The only up side is this will energize and motivate conservatives to get out the vote. The Tea Party and constitutional conservatives will not let this pass – it could be that Roberts has just ensured a landslide victory for Romney. We must elect Romney and get control of the Senate, as well as get more Tea Party candidates into the House. If we don’t, America as a free country is over.
Joshuapundit: I find it fascinating that this was such a poorly made law that it actually had to essentially be rewritten to pass muster as a ‘tax’. Except it doesn’t, really, since the Constitution’s quite specific about what kinds of taxes the federal government may levy(capitat or head tax, excise taxes or income taxes, per the 16th Amendment) and this isn’t any of those. Apparently anything now qualifies as a tax, including Michelle Obama’s White House party and vacation tabs.
There’s actually an historical precedent here. Chef Justice Charles Evans Hughes did pretty much the same thing after the 1936 elections, when FDR threatened legislation to pack the Court with 6 more FDR-appointed justices after the Court knocked down some of the more questionable New Deal programs. Hughes and Justice Owen J. Roberts panicked and switched positions, upholding most of the rest of Roosevelt’s agenda and ushered in the beginning of America as Welfare State.
In spite of various rumblings,including a pending repeal vote scheduled for July 11th, this will only be decided at the ballot box this November.Will the American people decide to reaffirm their Republic or will they move along the present path of allowing politicians to manipulate demos (the mob) until the people that really make the country work see the basic structure of the country is in danger? If it gets to that point, they’re going to decide the whole thing was a bad idea and get behind someone on a white horse with some solutions. It took our direct ancestor, the Roman Republic 500 years to get to that point, but then life moves so much faster nowadays. We’ll find out.
The Razor:In a sentence, intellectually satisfying but emotionally unsatisfying. It is intellectually satisfying because as Ann Althouse believes, Obama will pay a price for instituting a huge regressive tax on the working poor and middle class and the Commerce Clause rebuke clips the wings of Congress. But hearing the high-fives on NPR and other liberal media outlets is a punch in the gut. When they are happy I know that something is wrong with the country. It’s a simple bellwether but it works.
Rhymes With Right: I’m not happy with the outcome of the ObamaCare case — and am particularly shocked by the fact that the opinion was written by Chief Justice Roberts. That the main argument against ObamaCare (that it violated the Commerce Clause) had a majority to strike down the statute and yet it still survived under the minor argument that it was a tax — an argument rejected by Democrats both at the time of the program’s passage AND after the decision was announced — is particularly galling.
I believe that there needs to be a petition for rehearing filed the Supreme Court’s Rule 44 noting that the law’s supporters have immediately disavowed the notion that the “penalty” is a form of tax and noting that their argument that it is a tax was therefore a fraud committed upon the court. All it would take is one member of the majority — most likely Chief Justice Roberts — to join the four conservative dissenters in granting that rehearing for the ruling to be reconsidered and overturned, perhaps even before the election.
Maggie from Maggie’s Notebook: I agree with the dissenting Judges Thomas, Kennedy, Scalia and Alito that the opinion that ObamaCare can be read as a tax is “verbal wizardry.” From the dissent, I learned that if the legislation had been written as a tax, which we know it was not, it would have been found in Title IX, rather than Title 1 of the Act where the mandate was located. We know that had Congress voted on a tax, many of the Democrats would have voted ‘nay.’ We know, and the dissenting Judges write, that without certain “quid pro quos,” (like the Cornhusker Kickback and other backroom deals) it would not have passed.
I can see no constitutional principle upheld in the Court’s decision to view something a tax that is clearly not. There was a time in our history when taxes were a privilege, a support of our country that we gladly paid for the liberties this Nation provided. That idea has been out-dated for a very long time now, as politicians have picked our wallets clean. Now our taxes are penalties, and our penalties are taxes.
I have not been convinced of any of the explanations for why Roberts opined as he did, and so I have no opinion, but my best guess is political pressure. If that is true, it’s a very sad day for America when the highest court in the land, and the Chief Justice, can be bought for the price of popularity at D.C. cocktail parties.
Bookworm Room: I’ve already moved beyond the decision. Roberts is either a scoundrel or a chess player, but regardless of his motives, we’re stuck with a decision that says that ObamaCare is a tax and, worse, that indicates that Congress can tax us regardless of what we do or don’t do. This is now the American political reality, so my interest is in the way in which that reality plays out.
I believe that the decision does give the Republicans an advantage in the fall, assuming that they can get enough votes to put them beyond the inevitable ACORN-esque fraud zone. I believe that, if Romney becomes president, he will repeal ObamaCare in its entirety. I also believe that, unless Americans elect genuinely conservative Republicans, rather than the usual crop of RINOs, Romney and Congress will put their collective heads together and visit upon us some new legislation that’s every bit as bad as the old. Conservatives must keep up the pressure, not just on the politicians, but on the educational institutions, the media, and the entertainment industry. This mess took decades to create and will take decades to repair. The one thing we shouldn’t do is despair and retreat, for then we have truly lost.
Don’t forget to tune in Wednesday mornings for the Watcher’s Council nominations, a selection of some of the best selections available in the blogosphere! See you then…