To say that the Supreme Court decision on Obamacare on Thursday was shocking is putting it mildly. That the federal government has the power to force you to engage in commerce you don’t want to partake in or make you pay for the privilege of saying “no” is just staggering in reach and effect. But, as of Thursday, that’s the country we now live in. Those people who are cheering about this today (“It’s Constitutional. Bitches“, Patrick Gaspard, Democratic National Committee) will, I’m sure, laud this decision as they’re being forced to buy all manner of things some future – Republican – administration thinks they need to. I’ll be sure to remind them.
The most bitter part of all this, to me, is the action of Chief Justice Roberts in upholding this piece of trash. It is my considered opinion that Roberts has violated his oaths, acted in a manner so unethical that were he a lower-court judge he’d be looking at removal, and has deliberately opened a rationalization door to allow the federal government to violate the constitutionally-protected rights he was supposed to be guarding.
There are all kinds of fellow conservatives out there reaching (desperately, to my view) to find a silver lining in all of this. I’ve even heard some of them going so far as to claim that this represents a conservative victory. Ridiculous. Imbecilic, even. They paint some kind of picture of Justice Roberts, Solomon-like, bravely crafting the pathway to permit Republicans to repeal this abomination of a law. They speak as if he resolutely worked on conservatives’ behalf by laying down, finally, a roadblock against the expansion of federal authority through the abuse of the Commerce Clause, knowing that he’d be hated for it and implying that those of us angered with his action are somehow simpletons who are just incapable of grasping the elegance of his master stroke. The arrogance…
Chief Justice John Roberts was to have been the face of a more conservative Supreme Court, and by that I don’t mean politically. I mean that they were, under his leadership, to be less activist than before. In the span of 4 days, Roberts has proven himself to be, instead, one of the most singular examples of activist judge our system has ever seen. He is a traitor to the concept of a SCOTUS that refrains from taking unto themselves “the prerogative to make policy judgments.” And his blatant bias toward the Administration’s position – for whatever reason – makes him a disgrace to his profession.
Picture, if you will, the case of a crime allegedly committed. A man is accused and brought to trial. The prosecution makes its case, showing the evidence. The defense counters, attempting to call that evidence into question. Both sides rest. The judge in the case looks to the defense and tells them that they have failed to meet their burden. However! The judge then tells them that if they had only argued X, Y, and Z then they certainly would have. They didn’t make those arguments, of course, but if they had, well, then, that’d be different. So, having made the defense’s arguments for them, the judge then rules in their favor and the man – who was likely guilty – goes free.
Who among us would find that kind of behavior on a judge’s part to be acceptable? Unless you were the beneficiary of a judge actively arguing your side of the case in his courtroom and, in fact, arguing the case to the judge, himself, no one can honestly assert that they’d be ok with this. Lower court judges would be reprimanded for this and, likely, removed. The losing side could demand a mistrial and they would very likely get it.
This is precisely what Roberts did.
Roberts found that the law, as written and proposed, and supported by the Commerce Clause as the Obama Administration did, over and over, would not pass Constitutional muster. This is the job of the Supreme Court! Robert’s own ruling very clearly agrees that SCOTUS is not the Legislative Branch to the point of making the bald assertion that “[i]t is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.” And yet, he takes it upon himself to then re-write the government’s arguments and the law to change what Democrats and the President have repeatedly said is not a tax to become precisely that. If that is not judicial activism then no such thing can be said to exist.
The job of SCOTUS is not just to “interpret the law,” as Roberts says, but to specifically judge whether or not the application of a law or the action of government exceeds the limitations placed upon them by the Constitution. By changing the arguments pressed in the case – and then, of course, ruling his own edits as valid and compelling – Roberts has permitted the Federal Government to take an action that does exactly that when justified in the manner that those proposing to take the action asserted when called to question. Listen to them now: the White House is still saying it’s not a tax. Democrat leaders are waving their hands dismissively and telling us all to call it what we will – but they’re not going to call it a tax.
It would be nice for the people to be able to ask Chief Justice Roberts what we’re supposed to do now, since the government is insisting that it’s not what SCOTUS has now said it must be if it’s to be considered Constitutional. To whom do we appeal to make the government act within the bounds SCOTUS has arbitrarily decided upon?
Oh. I forgot. We can just throw them out of office. As if it were as simple as crumpling up a sheet of paper and tossing it in the wastebasket. I have long been a defender of the terms of office for Justices but I’m certainly changing my mind.
Chief Justice Roberts is precisely the kind of activist judge I have railed against for years and the fact that he was nominated by a Republican makes that n
o less true. It’s just a lot more bitter. So yes, we the people will have to handle it, and thanks so much, Justice Roberts, for landing this pile of garbage into our laps. You’ve made it so much easier. Perhaps, when we’re done with that, we’ll have a look at you and your fellows and see to it that we have a similar opportunity to deal with the likes of you.