Jun 29 2012
All I can say about yesterdays ruling from the USSC is we now know for sure the only way to fix our economy and country is to dismantle the federal behemoth. I don’t have a clue what drove Roberts to apparently switch is vote and let stand a ‘punishment’ tax for not procuring a specified element of commerce, but whatever it was borders on madness.
In what some have excused as an act of trying to not be a political, Roberts allowed politics to completely twist simple guiding principles into a incoherent mess. Supposedly the Commerce Clause was a step too far to impose commerce, but tax penalties are not???
And this was never a tax bill. Some have given the ludicrous excuse that by gutting a House Tax bill and filling it’s Congressional Tracking Number with Obamacare contents never once voted on by the House this was a way around the constitutional requirement. Sorry Allahpundit, but this is pure idiocy. If all it takes to get around constitutional law is a new cover on the legislation then we should toss the whole Constitution in the trash. This kind of excuse is what I expect to hear out of 5 years olds, not serious adults.
Roberts was overtaken by some pressure or inside-beltway nuance that, when viewed from the clarity of Middle America, is transparently warped. I have never seen such a crock. Anthony Kennedy seems to have penned the only cogent assessment of Obamacare overall. I will let reader Mara Harley’s comments fill out what how I feel about this mess (emphasis mine).
All but Ginsberg (in her supplemental) agreed the Commerce Clause was an constitutional overreach of Congressional authority… the only brief candle in a sea of dark in this.
Majority plus Roberts own opinion then turned to the “was it a tax” argument. The Chief Justice engaged in judicial contortionist manuevers, using precedents that when there can be two interpretation of a law, one of them being constitutional and the other not, the High Court must examine the end result of the law, within what authority exists, even tho Congress erroneously ID’d it’s power or intent in the legislation itself. (see pg 37 of the doc). Or:
And it is well established that if a statute has two possible meanings, one of which violates the Constitution, courts should adopt the meaning thatdoes not do so. Justice Story said that 180 years ago: “No court ought, unless the terms of an act rendered it unavoidable, to give a construction to it which should involve a violation, however unintentional, of the constitution.” Parsons v. Bedford, 3 Pet. 433, 448–449 (1830). Justice Holmes made the same point a century later: “[T]he rule issettled that as between two possible interpretations of a statute, by one of which it would be unconstitutional and by the other valid, our plain duty is to adopt that which will save the Act.” Blodgett v. Holden, 275 U. S. 142, 148 (1927) (concurring opinion).
Thus had Roberts not considered this precedents, we’d all be having an entirely different conversation.
This is where the dissenting judges argue differently. First, the Commerce Clause infringement, plus the overt intent of Congress by putting the mandate/penalty in Title I of the Act, instead of Title IX of the Act where the revenue provisions reside, was effectively the nail in the coffin. It is not the judiciary’s responsibility to correct Congressional errors in legislation.
Speaking of correcting their errors, the dissenting judges took issue with the unconstitutionality of Sebelius withholding funds, or coercing the states, INRE the Medicaid Expansion. Roberts stated that could be corrected if they did not withhold the funds, since it didn’t alter the Medicaid program in it’s existing form.
The dissenting judges argued that judicial remedy is chutpah (obviously, my own applied term… LOL), and that when that provision was unconstitutional, it should be struck as a whole.
There is only one other small, weak battery flashing beam in this… on pg s 48-50, Roberts does issue a warning (with citation) that even the taxing power has limitations, stating that the “the power to tax is not the power to destroy while this Court sits.” At this moment, the amount being discussed does not meet that threshhold, but it certainly was left open should Congress…as they always do… attempt to abuse that taxation power as it relates to this psudo “tax” that was really a “penalty” in legislative intent.
All in all, Roberts may have good citations to justify his hunt/peck to bail Congress out of their own deplorable legislative construction. But this whole things sucks…
I have been blogging about politics for coming on 7 years, and prior to that was immersed in heated discussions on the subject on various boards and forums for as along as I can remember. But now I have come to the conclusion “politics” is our cancer. As currently constituted, our government is completely dysfunctional and isolated from the citizenry. It lives in a fictional world and spends 90% of its energy trying to short cut the rules and collect power. The money apparently ain’t bad either. Some become ridiculously wealthy fleecing not only the taxpayers, but the descendants of the taxpayers for generations to come (just realize this is what today’s debt is, your children’s tax burden to make the powerful rich).
This is just the next glaring beacon to indicate why we need to tear down the federal beast. No more marginal efforts, promises of future fixes. No more deficits. No more free rides for endless failures.
America is better than that. We need to fire the lot of them and start over.