WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Thursday left standing the basic provisions of the health care overhaul, ruling that the government may use its taxation powers to push people to buy health insurance.
The narrowly delineated decision was a victory for President Obama and Congressional Democrats, with a 5-to-4 majority, including the conservative chief justice, John G. Roberts Jr., affirming the central legislative pillar of Mr. Obama’s presidency.
Chief Justice Roberts, the author of the majority opinion, surprised observers by joining the court’s four more liberal members in the key finding and becoming the swing vote. Justices Anthony Kennedy, frequently the swing vote, joined three more conservative members in a dissent and read a statement in court that the minority viewed the law as “invalid in its entirety.”
The decision did significantly restrict one major portion of the law: the expansion of Medicaid, the government health-insurance program for low-income and sick people, giving states more flexibility.
The case is seen as the most significant before the court since Bush v. Gore ruling, which decided the 2000 presidential election.
In addition to its political reverberations, the decision allows sweeping policy changes affecting one of the largest and fastest-growing sectors of the economy, touching nearly everyone from the cradle to the grave.
Archives for June 2012
The Romney campaign has been bragging to every outlet they can about the amazing $4.6 million haul they took in yesterday in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision upholding the individual mandate.
The fact that Romney was able to so immediately and succesfully capitalize on the Supreme Court’s decision is a stark reminder that a sucker is born every minute.
The swing vote in the landmark Obamacare decision was that of Chief Justice John Roberts. Roberts wrote the opinion that grants the federal government almost limitless power via the taxation clause. Even worse, and most frightening, this decision provides a roadmap for future Congresses and future Presidents to end run any lip-service limitations the Court provided to the limits of the commerce clause power or any other supposedly “limited” power of the federal government. And don’t even get me started on the 9th or 10th amendment, because apparently neither of those amendments exist any longer.
According to Mitt Romney, Chief Justice Roberts, now enemy number one to many conservatives and constitutionalists, is EXACTLY the kind of justice he would nominate if elected President.
I think the justices that President Bush has appointed are exactly spot-on. I think Justice Roberts and Justice Alito are exactly the kind of justices America needs.
Politically active people, such as those who read blogs, usually have a lot of knowledge about pending legislation, Supreme Court cases, et cetera. I’m sure you’ve read blog post after blog post, analysis after analysis on today’s decision(s). Twitter basically exploded with meltdowns from the right, gloating from the left, and a lot of hand-wringing and predictions about the death of the Republic.
About an hour after the decision, and after lots of pleading and puppy-dog eyes from my 9-year-old, we headed to the health club where, guess what, no one was talking about ObamaCare or SCOTUS at all.
While commiserating with my one workout partner who is politically aware, she said the following:
“I think this sealed the deal on another election like 2010. A few weeks ago I was about 50/50 on whether Obama would be re-elected, but now I am thinking 60/40 on Romney. This ticked a lot of people off and put the fire under the butts of a lot of inactive conservatives. In 2010 I was so pissed off that I picked up 2 like-minded friends that wouldn’t have bothered to vote on my way to the polling station. I also manipulated my husband into getting off his butt. In other words, I multiplied my vote by 4. Given the amount of people that don’t vote, I think this is the way to really win an election. I’m sure every conservative can find at least 1 person to drag out to vote.”
The United States Constitution. Many consider it one of the greatest documents ever devised by man. The idea that men could govern themselves was radical. The United States was the first nation to ever try it. It’s just to bad that the Founders managed to also illustrate the folly of central planning.
What’s that? What in the heck did the Founders have to do with central planning? An excellent question.
You see, the Founding Fathers tasked with creating the Constitution were a small, select group of people. They wanted what was best for the new nation, and so they wrote out a guide. These were people driven by a noble ideology, that of a free nation, and yet they screwed up oh-so-royally.
“They didn’t screw up! We’re the ones screwing up the Constitution,” some might say. Well, you’re partially right. Unfortunately, where you’re wrong is that that the Founders did make mistakes. You see, there are a lot of areas where they were less than clear, or inserted things that weren’t really necessary. There are few actual definitions of what they wanted or envisioned.
Here are some examples. None of these even touch on the horror that was slavery, codified in a document intended to create a free nation (irony much?)
To promote the general welfare
That phrase is used to justify all kinds of crap. Every time someone claims an entitlement is unconstitutional, someone else will trot out this gem. Now, if you’re reading this blog, I’m going to assume you understand that this was not what it was intended to support. Instead, the government was to exist to protect an environment where people could take care of themselves. Unfortunately, that’s not what they said.
In reaction to my post yesterday, and lots of other punditry around the web, my friend Rusty Weiss of Mental Recession fame (he recently celebrated six months of blogging!) emailed me to say he’s tired of having to settle for silver linings — that he want points on the board.
A lot of us — political activists, policy geeks, and court watchers alike — were disappointed with the outcome of yesterday’s ruling. We wanted a full takedown of Obamacare, for both substantive and political reasons. Instead, we got a ruling that the president’s signature legislative achievement passes constitutional muster, even if it was most peculiarly reasoned.
Well, it’s the day after Obamacare was ruled Constitutional. I thought I would wake up feeling much like yesterday: dejected. But a funny thing happened. I read a couple of pieces that left me optimistic about the long term effects of yesterday’s ruling.
The first one was a great article by Sean Trende, over at RealClearPolitics. Not only does he juxtapose the Roberts opinion with Chief Justice John Marshall’s in the Marbury v Madison case, but he also offers some interesting insights:
1. The law still has a good chance of not being implemented.
Let’s start with Roberts’ presumed crass political considerations. Namely, as a conservative Republican, he would not want the health care law implemented. But if Mitt Romney wins the November election, it is highly likely that Republicans will win the Senate as well. Right now, Romney probably has no worse than a 50-50 chance of being elected. I honestly don’t think in the long run this changes things that much. The next jobs report will have a much greater impact on Obama’s re-election bid over the long haul than this decision.
If Republicans win the Senate and presidency, the law is doomed. They will use reconciliation to repeal it, or to gut it. In fact, since the court essentially allowed states to opt out of the Medicaid expansion, there’s a chance that the bill would no longer reduce the deficit if a large state like Texas opted out. This makes the use of reconciliation much easier.
2. Doctrinally, The Federalist Society got everything it wanted.
Of all the commentary on the SCOTUS decision today, this one stood out to me. It’s from a post written by Erick Erickson over at RedState, titled “I’m Not Down on John Roberts.” (Really, at this point, who could be?) There’s one paragraph that got my attention. The italics are his; the bold is mine:
Fifth, the decision totally removes a growing left-wing talking point that suddenly they must vote for Obama because of judges. The Supreme Court as a November issue for the left is gone. For the right? That sound you hear is the marching of libertarians into Camp Romney, with noses held, knowing that the libertarian and conservative coalitions must unite to defeat Obama and Obamacare.
With all due respect, Mr. Erickson, that is balderdash.
As I have written, the entire reason that this decision was made, the entire reason that this abomination has passed, was because a conservative justice, appointed by a Republican president, made it so. In effect, Roberts pulled some random garbage out of left field with a Death Star’s tractor beam in order to make this work.
And so somehow, because a conservative had upheld this unrepetant bag of you-know-what, libertarians are going to jump to their side by electing the guy who created Obamacare’s prototype?
Excuse me, but just what in the name of the Father, Son, and the Unholy Ghost is Erick smoking?
Now that ObamaCare has been upheld, I look around and see a lot of reactions in the political spheres. The left is gloating. The right is rallying behind Romney. Libertarians such as myself are looking around and seeing exactly what the hell is wrong with this country.
First, to the conservatives. You’re idiots. Rallying behind Romney? He practically gift wrapped ObamaCare for the Democrats. He can say whatever the heck he wants to now about how he doesn’t support it, but the fact is that he does support individual mandates. He does support the law. In fact, he’s not actually saying he disagrees with the policy. He’s saying he thinks it should be at the state level. Really?
Conservatives should be ashamed of themselves. Why? Their whole schtick of “vote for anyone but a democrat” landed us with people who would appoint John Roberts to be Chief Justice. Nice freaking job there pals. Thanks for nothing. Our nation is screwed, but we got a Republican in the White House that day so it’s all peachy-keen.
To the progressives. Shut the hell up. Seriously. Yes, you won one. Nice freaking job. Now, the next time you lose, remember how you’re acting right now. When Patrick Gaspard, executive director of the DNC posts a tweet saying, “It’s constitutional. Bitches,” then you have zero justification in acting all hurt when salt gets rubbed in your wounds. NONE!
Of course, also remember this victory when the GOP passes some law that uses just this to justify its existence. Remeber it was your ideology that let it happen. Trust me on this, it will happen. And yet, I suspect you will all conveniently forget this moment and act indignant. Well, cry me a freaking river. I’m past caring anymore.
By a vote of 255 to 67 (109 did not vote, one voted present), the House of Representatives has found Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for his failure to produce documents related to the Fast and Furious scandal. Seventeen Democrats voted with Republicans to find Holder in contempt.
Operation Fast and Furious allowed more than 2,000 guns, some of which were purchased by convicted felons, to walk across the border with Mexico and into the hands of violent drug cartels. More than 200 of those guns found their way to crime scenes in Mexico. Some 200 people are believed to have been killed with weapons connected to the Operation Fast and Furious. Guns connected to the operation have found their way back into the United States and have been used in crimes here, including the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
Oh hallelujah. From my friend Michael Bastasch at the Daily Caller News Foundation:
At the Idaho GOP convention in Twin Falls, the state GOP decided to preserve the platform of abolishing the Federal Reserve Bank and instituting dollars backed by gold and silver.
“We recognize the failure of the Federal Reserve System to maintain a sound U.S. dollar and the danger of mercantile banks controlling the issuance of our currency. We believe the Federal Reserve Bank should be abolished and the issuing power restored to the people with the stipulation that the U.S. dollar be backed by gold and silver,” reads the recently adopted 2012 platform.
The platform goes even further and encourages Idahoans to acquire precious metals.
“We believe Idahoans need to protect their savings from the ravages of inflation, which is hidden taxation, and encourage citizens to participate in a systematic acquisition of precious metals which represent real value as opposed to paper currencies,” the platform continues.
An Idaho GOP spokesperson declined to comment on the record about the state party’s 2012 platform and the platform of abolishing the Fed and instituting U.S. dollars backed by gold and silver plank.
What more did you need to say, other than “It’s awesome!”?
As we all know by now, the Supreme Court upheld the Constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act today by relying upon an argument that most people had not been paying attention to: