Tuesday, June 27

The insanity behind the Supreme Court's opinion that Obamacare was constitutional

While we're on the subject of Obamacare (previous post):  It's worth noting again the astonishing way chief justice John Roberts was able to rationalize that Obamacare was constitutional.  If you think the Constitution actually means what it says, and can't be overturned even by the supreme court, you should be outraged at the Roberts opinion that decreed this ghastly horror constitutional.

One of the big pieces of controversy about Obamacare was its command that it commanded all citizens to either buy health insurance or pay a penalty.  This provision was short-handed to "the mandate."

There is no precedent in the law where the government forces citizens to buy any specific product--no matter how useful--and nothing in the Constitution supported this novel power.  So many constitutional experts didn't think the government could legally demand this.

Roberts recognized this was a problem.  But he saw a way around it, as I'll explain.  If you ever heard about it, you've forgotten.  Which is what the Democrats wanted.

Obama and the Democrats had repeatedly promised they wouldn't raise taxes on the middle class.  So when voters learned about Obamacare's "mandate," Obama and the Dems insisted that the "mandate" (forcing every American citizen to buy health insurance or pay a penalty) was NOT a tax, but just a "penalty."  So in their oral arguments before the court, Obama's own administration attorneys repeatedly claimed that the mandate was NOT a tax.

Roberts then solved the problem of unconstitutionality by simply declaring that contra to the repeated insistence of Team Obama that the mandate was NOT at tax, it was actually...a tax.  And the Constitution clearly gave congress the power to levy whatever taxes it wished.

Clever, eh?  Historically the Supreme Court has been extremely reluctant to "perfect" defective laws or defective arguments by parties to a case.  But under the new, improved system Roberts simply wrote an opinion that ignored the government's claim that the mandate was NOT a tax, and claimed the exact opposite!  Unbelievable.

This rejection of legal precedent was so totally goofy that many analysts suspected Roberts had been pressured to rule the law constitutional regardless of the arguments.

So Roberts' unprecedented disregard for the Obama administration's own insistence solved the question of the government lacking the power.  The decision was published, and that was that.

I'll just note one more...quirk...about Obamacare:  Article 1 Section 7 of the Constitution begins, "All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives."   Due to arcane political maneuvering in congress, the bill that was eventually passed was initiated by the senate.  To get around Article 1 Section 7 the Democrat-run senate took a House bill on a totally different topic, deleted every word in it, and substituted 2200 pages of health-insurance mandate.  The notoriously leftist source Wiki glossed over this by putting the 'deleted every word' at the end of the 'graf:
To formally comply with this requirement, the Senate used H.R. 3590, a bill regarding housing tax changes for service members.  [This] became the Senate's vehicle for its healthcare reform proposal, discarding the bill's original content.
Of course the plaintiffs in the case--the folks claiming the law was unconstitutional--weren't moved to argue the question of the law's compliance with the Constitution if the mandate was ruled a tax because the government attorneys claimed the exact opposite.

Finally, here's how utterly goofy--crazy--Roberts' opinion was.  Here's his writing:
The Federal Government does not have the power to order people to buy health insurance.  [The mandate] would therefore be unconstitutional if read as a command.
   The Federal Government does have the power to impose a tax on those without health insurance. [The mandate] is therefore constitutional, because it can reasonably be read as a tax.
By this reasoning the government would have the power to compel anything it wanted--as long as it didn't couch the compulsion as a command, but simply imposed a punitive tax on failure to obey.

It's compulsion by a different name, and a classic example of the court letting the government do something by indirection that the Constitution clearly prohibits if done directly.  This is insane--and a totally politically-driven opinion.


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