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Chief Justice John Roberts – Savior of Obamacare

When I first learned the news of the Supreme Court’s decision on Obamacare, I was shocked. And a little angry. At the time, I could not understand how a majority of a conservative-leaning Court could come reach the conclusion that the individual mandate is constitutional. Once I was able to read the news for myself, and read some of the opinions that were handed down with the ruling, my perception remains the same. In spite of reading countless news articles and blog posts, many of which extolled the virtues of the decision of Chief Justice John Roberts to cast the deciding vote to uphold the mandate, I fail to see how this ruling is a good thing for America.

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To get some idea of the genius that was supposed to be in Justice Roberts decision, let’s go to the opinion itself. I am sure you have read it by now. Those who were in the courtroom during the reading of the ruling must have believed the law, or at least the mandate, was a goner. Roberts clearly stated that the Commerce Clause of the Constitution did not grant Congress the power to force individuals to buy health insurance. A few minutes later, he declared the mandate functioned as a tax and the Court could not make the determination if the tax was proper. Here is part of the decision.

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CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS concluded in Part III–B that the individual mandate must be construed as imposing a tax on those who do not have health insurance, if such a construction is reasonable.

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The most straightforward reading of the individual mandate is thatit commands individuals to purchase insurance. But, for the reasons explained, the Commerce Clause does not give Congress that power.It is therefore necessary to turn to the Government’s alternative argument: that the mandate may be upheld as within Congress’s power to “lay and collect Taxes.” Art. I, §8, cl. 1. In pressing its taxingpower argument, the Government asks the Court to view the mandate as imposing a tax on those who do not buy that product. Because “every reasonable construction must be resorted to, in order tosave a statute from unconstitutionality,” Hooper v. California, 155 U. S. 648, 657, the question is whether it is “fairly possible” to interpret the mandate as imposing such a tax, Crowell v. Benson, 285 U. S. 22, 62. Pp. 31–32.

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CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to Part III–C, concluding that the individual mandate may beupheld as within Congress’s power under the Taxing Clause. Pp. 33–44.

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I am not a constitutional scholar and I can not claim to be the smartest fellow in the world, but let me see if I have this straight. Justice Roberts rightly declared that the Commerce Clause does not give Congress the authority to make me buy health insurance. He then turned around and redefined the mandate as a tax and said it could be upheld. He basically changed the argument for the mandate, in order to declare it constitutional. In doing so, Justice Roberts opened a gaping hole in the wall of our liberty. At the same time, he paved the way for Congress to expand its power of taxation. The genius of this decision escapes me.

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Some pundits are declaring this is part of a long-term strategy by Justice Roberts. They say it is using it to turn the power back to the states. While that may be true with the Medicaid part of the ruling, which said the federal government can not force the states to participate in the expansion of Medicaid that is coming under Obamacare, I fail to see how the ruling by the Supreme Court is either good, or the right thing to do. What does it matter if the mandate is defined as a tax or a penalty? Is not the end result the same. Either buy insurance, or the IRS will collect a fine from you at the end of the year.

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There is one more reason why Obamacare should have been struck down. Everyone is rightly upset at the individual mandate to purchase health insurance, but few people are talking about the other mandate that is included in the law. It is also scheduled to go into affect in 2014 and it is called the employer mandate. Reuters has an explanation of.

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Offer a minimum level of health insurance to their employees after a 90-day waiting period, starting in 2014. This only applies to businesses with at least 50 employees who work “full-time,” meaning at least 30 hours a week, according to Convenience Store News, which covers the retail industry. The health plans offered must comply with existing reforms, including coverage of dependents up to age 26.

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If a business chooses not to offer employee health plans, the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate stipulates a $2,000 per-employee penalty beyond the first 30 employees. That may actually be cheaper than offering health coverage, CSN notes.

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You’ll have to forgive me for describing the employer mandate as a job-killing, expansion hindering piece of work. It will almost certainly guarantee a lot of small businesses will choose to not expand and grow, or will close their doors entirely. My employer may not fall under this mandate because of the number of his employees, but he did tell me several jobs would have to be cut, in order to pay for a mandate such as this.

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John RobertsSomeone will have to explain to me again how this is a move of genius by Justice John Roberts. After reading about this opinion for several hours and sleeping on it for a night, I conclude that my first reaction was correct. This is a bad ruling by the Supreme Court. I knew there were four liberal justices who would vote to uphold the mandate, no matter how it was defined. I just didn’t expect Justice Roberts to redefine the intent of the law and join those four justices to form a new majority on the Supreme Court.

In his opinion, Justice Roberts wrote the following. “It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.” That may be true, but it is the job of the Supreme Court to declare any law that does not line up with the Constitution as unconstitutional. They failed miserably with Obamacare.

There is only one good thing I can find in this ruling. It has motivated me to work harder to make sure Barack Obama is kicked out of the White House, and to send as many conservatives as possible to Washington. Obamacare has to be repealed and if the Supreme Court refuses to do it, then it’s up to us.

About LD Jackson

LD Jackson has written 2053 posts in this blog.

Founder and author of the political and news commentary blog Political Realities. I have always loved to write, but never have I felt my writing was more important than in this present day. If I have changed one mind or impressed one American about the direction our country is headed, then I will consider my endeavors a success. I take the tag line on this blog very seriously. Above all else, in search of the truth.

  • Larry, I’m with you on this. Obamacare is bad for America period! However this move by Roberts was very uncharacteristic of who he really is. I was going back through some of the cases he ruled on and he has almost always he ruled on the side of limited government. Additionally the position he took on the penalty being tax was very odd considering it was really argued before the SCOTUS. I was listening the Mark Levin yesterday and towards the end of his show he had a guest on…another conservative radio talk host who personally knows Roberts and he said this was not the John Roberts he had known for so many years. He then went on to say he feels there is something more behind this. Mark Levin was taking that bait, but it prompted me enough to start looking at past rulings. Roberts is a conservative through and through and the position he took yesterday was very much out of his conservative comfort zone. So without sounding too conspiratorial, I’m now beginning to see this in a different light and I’m starting to put some things together in my mind that I hope to get down a paper today. Don’t get me wrong Larry…Obamacare is a terrible thing for America and I’m with you on this. I just think there is something more behind Roberts’ move. More to come.

    • I’ll look forward to reading your thoughts on Roberts. If someone can convince me this was anything more than a tragedy for the American people, I’ll be glad to acquiesce.

    • Well, I can’t wait to hear your theory on this John, something strange seems to have happened.

  • John is going to have a blockbuster of a post today. I spoke with him last night. It may turn out that Roberts did this to protect the Constitution, not undermine it.

    • I am willing to be convinced, but I have seen nothing yet that can do that. I will be looking for John’s post.

  • I agree with you, Larry. I defy anyone to show me the word tax on any of the over 2000 pages of the Affordable Care Act. It was a mandate. What Roberts did is judicial activism pure and simple no matter what his motives were. He betrayed the constitution and the Amerrican people. The Founders designed a system of checks and balances for a reason.

    • I am anxiously waiting for John’s post and explanation of why Roberts ruled the way he did. To this point, I have yet to be able to understand why he felt it was a good thing to change the statute. He basically rewrote part of the law and then upheld it. I fail to see how that is a good thing.

  • For no other reason this decision ought to get the Ronulans behind Romney. Romney will push for a repeal and if he’s given a GOP Congress he’ll get it. Four more years of Obama will just ensure this will be law forever.

    • There is little chance that the people you call Ronulans will ever get behind Mitt Romney. I don’t necessarily agree with that, but it just isn’t going to happen.

      And you’re right. Give Obama another four years and we’ll not be able to recognize America.

  • I’m with you 100% Larry. I read all the opinions about how Roberts pulled one over on the president but I can’t see it. All he did was give the Democrats another way around the constitution and grant them more taxing power. I don’t understand what he was thinking here.

    • At least I am not the only one. Maybe there is more at play here than meets the eye, but I can’t see it. Not yet.

  • Mike

    Does anybody know the process of repeal? Won’t the GOP need 60 votes in the Senate for repeal? Seems unlikely. Then it’s the law of the land and bulletproof. Then what?

    • I am thinking I read somewhere that because of how the law was originally passed, through reconciliation, it would require fewer votes to repeal than it would normally take. I’ll have to do some research and see if that is the case.

  • bill

    in 1942 the supremes opined that a mr. roscoe filburn’s ‘activity’ of growing grain-plants on his property for the sole intent of feeding his family (and their chickens) fell under the purview of ‘interstate commerce’ vis~a~vis the agricultural adjustment act of 1938; and therefore could be regulated sans ‘sale of product’ because, the court reasoned, by providing for his own consumption, mr. filburn did not have to ‘buy’ a product and “that affects commerce” both intra and inter-state. mr. filburn and like-minded folk were less than pleased with that ruling, but at least there was an ‘activity’ involved on the part of the defendent.

    when the constitutionality of the ‘individual mandate’ was first challenged in the lower courts our fear was that ‘inactivity’ could be construed to “affect commerce”; the envelope of the commerce clause would be pushed once again, and a myriad of new regulations would ensue, (broccoli) comes to mind. regulations grow the government, reduce the effectiveness of our tax dollars and, as mr. jackson has said; “open a gaping hole in the wall of our liberty”. instead, as mr. roberts wrote in the majority: “But, for the reasons explained, the Commerce Clause does not give Congress that power.”

    so the progessive’s signature legislation rests on the ability to collect additional tax dollars from the electorate; good luck with that. whatever politically obscure machinations the chief justice went through to procure the ruling were worth it.

    ~ our constitution was not further maligned.
    ~ we, the people, retain our right to limit taxation.
    ~ mr. obama faces an up-hill battle on ‘affordable’ health care.

    imho; the court’s ruling bodes well for all patriots…b

    • Obviously, there is a plus side to the ruling on Obamacare. I’m still not completely convinced Roberts made the right call. His decision to redefine the mandate troubles me.

  • Even Obama scolded George Stephanopolous for suggesting it was a tax. I think Robert’s-if he even believes what he said, is the only one in the country that considers Obamacare a tax. Funny how a departure from reality can have real consequences.

  • What it comes down to, really, is electing the kind of people we want to see propose our laws.

  • I to thought about this for quite some time. I am torn, but at the same time I think Roberts did what he had to do. That was expose Obama and the Demoractes for what it really is. A TAX. Creating a tax is covered under the constituion from what I understand. But what bothers me is that Obama and the Democrates new from the beginning that it was a tax on those that do not have health insurance. After all remember that under Obama the National Debt has gone from $10.5 Trillion to over $15.7 Trillion in 3 short years. And Obama wants to raise it again. Those that are for this plan are really idiots, because they really do not know or care what the real truth is and how this will affect millions of families and individuals in Amercan. How many people making minmum wage or how many families of 4 can afford $20,000 a year premiums. But they can pay the tax, oh wait Obama and the Democrates call it a fine…and don’t forget that Obama and his family get life time health benifits. What about the Senate? And Congress?

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