A Brave New World

By now, those who have been paying attention know the basics of the Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare.  We know that the court upheld the law based not on the Commerce Clause but instead on Congress’ power to tax.

So, while Congress cannot require us to buy health insurance, for example, while it cannot force us to engage in commerce in order to regulate that commerce. it can punish us if we don’t.  It can tax us if we choose not to buy health insurance.

Where might this lead?  To many scary places, that’s where.

Let’s say at some point liberals take over both houses of Congress and the White House, a frightening but perfectly reasonable assumption.  And let’s say in their liberal wisdom they decide that for the good of the environment, for the good of the country, and for the good of the planet, everyone who drives a car should drive an electric vehicle.  Because of the recent Supreme Court ruling, Congress cannot require us to buy electric cars, but it can punish us if we don’t.  It can levy a tax if we choose not to go electric; if we choose to drive a car fueled by gasoline instead.

And the tax can constitutionally be as high as Congress wants to make it.  In essence, the liberal lawmakers would be saying:  Hey, we can’t force you to do the “right” thing, but we can make it pretty uncomfortable if you don’t.  Or to put it another way, the liberal lawmakers can make us an offer we can’t refuse.

Or what if Congress decides that every house in America should have solar panels on the roof.  It’s not fair, the legislators might reason, that some Americans incur the expense of being good environmental citizens while others choose to spend their money on something else.   But since they can’t make us install solar panels, they could pass a law saying those who choose not to go green, will be taxed a certain (substantial) percentage of their household income.

And liberals might say that no one needs a big house.  So, first, they would establish commissions and exchanges to define “big” based on the number of people living in the house, then they could pass laws that says anyone who builds a house greater than the allowed square footage, will be taxed on every foot over the limit.

How about fat people?  Being overweight, the liberal lawmakers might say, is not good for the fat person and not good for anyone else in America, since being overweight contributes to diabetes and a bunch of other diseases that cost a lot of money to treat.  What to do?  Here’s an idea:  Since Congress can’t look to the Commerce Clause in order to force anyone to join a health club, it could use its taxing authority to levy a tax on anyone who’s overweight who won’t join.

Before you say, “This is crazy, Congress would never do any of those things,” remember that a Democratically-controlled Congress has already passed a nearly 3000-page law that regulates healthcare in America – and that doesn’t count the tens of thousands of pages of rules and regulations that are right now being written.  If Congress can do that, how hard would it be to pass laws that “encourage” us to buy electric cars, solar panels and join health clubs?

Whatever precedents this Supreme Court decision may set, however the decision on ObamaCare may affect the thinking of other justices in other cases, one thing is clear:  The ruling sets the stage for a massive intrusion by the federal government into all of our lives.  Thanks to four liberal justices and Chief Justice John Roberts, we have entered a brave new world.

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  • Tovah Janovsky

    Surely the Founding Fathers are spinning at light speed in their graves.  What really scares me is that I really don’t know any place to go to.   When the later version of the film 1984 was made, the line that chilled me the most was:  “If you want a vision of the future, imagine a
    boot stamping on a human face – forever”. I prayed this would remain in fiction but now realize Orwell was a prophet as well as an author.  God help us please!!

  • James King

    Anyone who has an objective brain understands that the deck is now stacked even more strongly against citizens. You do not need a college degree to see that Republicans, Democrats, and the Supreme Court do not represent original purpose by the founders.

    I believe that as long as the Republicans and Democrats hold power freedom will never return, and it got up and left the borders more than 150 years ago. Teddy, Woodrow, FDR, Johnson, Carter, and now Obama have turned America into a collectivist haven with immoral pols running the show. Sad.

  • Bob Hadley

    “And the tax can constitutionally be as high as Congress wants to make it. In essence, the liberal lawmakers would be saying: Hey, we can’t force you to do the “right” thing, but we can make it pretty uncomfortable if you don’t. Or to put it another way, the liberal lawmakers can make us an offer we can’t refuse.”

    Wrong!   Did you read the decision?

    The majority (controlling) decision in the health care case made clear that a fundamental feature of the health care mandate involving a tax, as opposed to a penalty,  under the U. S. Constitution’s taxing power provision was that it was NOT financially prohibitory, i.e. Congress CANNOT make a tax/penalty/fine as high as it wants if it’s to be upheld under the U. S. Constitution’s taxing powers. 

    The majority decision specifically and approvingly cited a U. S. Supreme Court’s decision early last century striking down a federal tax because it amounted to 10% of a business’s net income, which it held to be “an exceedingly heavy burden….”

    The majority decision made a point that in Obamacare, “the penalty will be [in 2016] 2.5% of an individual’s household income, but not less than $695 and not more than the average yearly premium for insurance that “covers 60% of the cost of 10 specificed services (e.g. prescription drugs and hospitalization).”

    Yes, Congress has always been able to make it “pretty uncomfortable” for those engaging a certain product or activity since the beginning of this nation.  Is there a significant difference between taxing – making it “pretty uncomfortable” – for those engaging in a certain activity or buying a certain product, on the one hand, and taxing those who do not engage in a certain activity or who do not buy a certain product?  The U. S. Supreme Court has stated that there is not a distinguishable difference.  Read the decision IF you care to understand its analysis.

    There’s always those thickheads (including most of the talking heads) who apparently assume that CJ Roberts had a political agenda in voting as he did.  They just have to figure out what his agenda actually is.  It’s possible that they are correct, but where is the evidence that he blatantly disregarded his sworn reesponsibilty?  If the CJ’s vote was based on anything other than a legal analysis (constitutional interpretation and pertinent legal precedents as applied to the facts of the case), he needs to be impeached.   You should start with the premise that all ustices base their decisions on legal analtysis.

    Even if the CJ changed his vote late in the game, it probably shows that he’s open minded.  How many times has someone had an opinion on somethnig but has changed that opinion when they committed it to a written and detailed analysis?  According to Laura Ingrahm, who clerked for Justice Thomas, it’s not very uncommon for justices to change their vote amidst the decison making process. 

    The U. S. Supreme Court, in its health care decision, reminded us that its role as established by the U. S. Constitution is NOT to make policy or to get involved in politics.   Other than the general guidelines set by the U. S. Constitution – which BTW can be changed by the electorate,  politics and policy is in the hands of the electorate, the elected officials and those who are appointed and indirectly employed by elected officials. 

    Yes, federal authority has expanded as this nation has become more interdependent and interrelated.  DUH!  This has been noted by the U. S. Supreme Court for over a century.  This means that the electorate must become more informed and more actively involved.  Debate must be robust and constructive.  Whining because the CJ was not an activist, or because he wasn’t activitist in a certain direction, and misrepresenting the SCOTUS’ decisions is not constructive.

    • asl3676

        What decision are you referring to in the third paragraph?  Congress cannot pass a tax that is unduly burdensome???  I must have missed that one on law school….
      Also, you can only impeach a federal judge for high crimes and misdemeanors not because of his/her court rulings.

      • Bob Hadley

        The decision referred to above that was referred to in the SCOTUS’ health care decision is Bailey v. Drexel Furniture Co., 259 U. S. 20 (1922).   In that case, Congress passed what it termed a “tax” on businesses employing child labor.  The SCOTUS ruled that it couldn’t be a tax under the COTUS’ taxing powers provision because, among other things, it was financially prohibitory. 

        The quotes used above came from the SCOTUS’ health care decision.  It’s worth reading!

        If it could be established that CJ Roberts’ vote in the SCOTUS’ health care decsion was based on politics, i.e. that he blatantly violated his oath, that wouldn’t constitute a high crime  or misdemeanor as interpreted throughout our history?   You might be right.  I haven’t researhed the issue.

        I realize that this is highly hypothetical because motive is often difficult to establish.  Imagine that – legal analysis being hypothetical?

        • asl3676

          Thanks I’ll check out the decision…I know you know this but he reason that there are an odd number of judges on SCOTUS is so there are no ties. A judge can be impeached for committing a crime ie. bribery. It does not matter what the reason is for his decisions.
          There are many who would like Scalia and Thomas to be impeached for being right wing idealogues.

          • Bob Hadley

            You’re saying that it doesn’t matter if a justice blatantly violates his constitutional duties?   For example, I think if there was strong evidence that Justice Ginsberg violated her fundamental constitutional duties there’s be a big brouhaha, likely resulting in impeachment.
            Removal would be doubtful, however. 

            If the same could be shown of Justices Scalia and Thomas in ’09, they’d also probably face a removal trial.  But their particualr jurisprudence is by no means inconsistent with their fundamental constitutional duties.

            It’s highly unlikely that it would ever be established that any Justice violated his fundamental constitutional duty to rule or vote on a case pursuant to the pertinent law and facts.  It seems the only way to do this is if it were revealed that a justice made a detailed confession to a credible witness and if this confession were substantially corroborated by some other evidence. 

            As far as i know, the closest to this occurred during the 2000 election returns when Justice O’Connor supposedly declared something to the effect of “Oh, that’s terrible!” when it was erroneously announced that V.P. Gore had won Florida.  As the story goes, after Justice O’Connor left the room, her husband explained that she wanted to retire soon and to retire under a Republican president.

            Then, Justice O’Connor went on to rule in then candidate GW Bush’s favor in Bush v. Gore.  The earlier report  supplied a possible extra-legal motive for her vote. 
            But that’s speculative.  She could very well have favored then candidate GW Bush AND made her decision based on none other than the law and the facts.
            Justice O’Connor might have given the appearance of impropriety when she did not recuse herself from Bush v. Gore.  But that is not as serious a matter as violating her fundamental constitutional duties.

            Again, I have not researched the issue.  You may be right.

          • asl3676

            The simple answer is no,federal judges cannot be removed except for commission or commission of a serious felony.
            Constititutional duty does not involve how one comes to judicial decisions. There would not be an effective judicial syatem if judges could be removed by elected officials who do not agree with them.
            While this system may be frustrating and some, including myself, would argue that age or time limits be established for the federal judciary it is considered to be among the the best system judicial systems in the world.

          • Bob Hadley

            “Constititutional duty does not involve how one comes to judicial decisions.”

            Here’s a hypothetical.  In 2000, one of Justice O’Connor’s law clerks, who adores Justice O’Connor, says that she confided in him that she agreed with the dssent in Bush v. Gore, but that she signed on to the majority only because she really, really, really wanted Bush to win. 

            A congressional inquiry is started.  An e-mail from Justice O’Connor is discovered that corroborates the Law Clerk.  Finally, Justice O’Connor admits that it’s true:  the only reason she signed on to the majority decision is that she wanted to resign soon, but that she didn’t want to resign under Gore.

            Given the above facts, you’re saying that Justice O’Connor did not violate her constitutional duties???????????? 

            “The simple answer is no,federal judges cannot be removed except for commission or commission of a serious felony.”

            You’re saying that high crimes and misdemeanors, as the term was used in the U. S. Constitution and as it has been used in imoeachment inquiries of federal judges, only applies to “serious” felonies???????????  Where did you get this information?

            Pres. Clinton was impeached without a “serious” felony being established.  It was pretty much agreed that he lied under oath, but perjury requires a material lie.  I’m unaware of it even being argued that it was a material lie.  In fact, the judge (Susan Weber Wright) said in a later opiniion that it was not perjury. 

            Pres. Andrew Johnson was impeached without, as far as i know, there being an underlying “serious” felony. 

            Neither president was removed.  But that was at least as much politics as anything else. 

          • asl3676

            Clinton was not “impeached”. He was tried and found not guilty. I’m not sure what your point is other than you believe you and others can define the term ‘constitutional duty”. This term is a concept not a specific.
            The judiciary is there to be a referee. Would you like to fire a referee because you disagree with his call? If so, good luck getting anyone to be a ref.

          • Bob Hadley

            You need to check your facts.  Pres. Clinton WAS impeached by the House of Representatives.   The U. S. Constitution gives the House the responsibility of handling impeachment.

            BTW, impeachment is analagous to indictment, not to conviction.

            Once impeached, a federal judge faces a removal hearing or trial in the Senate, as prescribed by the U. S. Constitution.

            On the matter of the duty of the  SCOTUS, you need to read my post again.  I’m obviously not talking about impeachment because I disagree with a certain ruling.

            A SCOTUS justice takes an oath to uphold the U. S. Constitution and laws and to faithfully execute his office.  In the hypothetical I gave above, it’s clear that that oath would be blatantly be violated.

            If a referree admittedly makes his calls because he wants his preferred team to win, then get rid of him.  Having no referee is better than having a dirty referee.

            You don’t seem to understand that the issue is not whether you like a decision but it’s whether the official is executinig his duty in good faith.

            Of course, you start with the premise that a federal judge is acting in good faith, and you give him the benefit of any reasoable doubt.  But if it becomes clear that he isn’t acting in good faith, he should be impeached. by the House and face trial in the Senate.

            Did you say you went to law school?

          • asl3676

            I did go to law school and have been active in securities litigation for many years…and you are going to prove the referrees motivations by what method?
            I ofter tell politicallyconservative clients who mention tort reform that litigation is often frivolous, unless you are the Plaintiff and I’m representing you..

          • Bob Hadley

            I understand your point about tort reform and so-called frivilous lawsuits. 

            “It’s highly unlikely that it would ever be established that any Justice violated his fundamental constitutional duty to rule or vote on a case pursuant to the pertinent law and facts.”

            That is what I said at the onset of this discussion, a few posts up.  But I did give you a hypothetical – as unlikely as it is – as to how it might be established.

            My whole point was that these talking heads and so-called pundits seem so sure that CJ Roberts voted on the health care case out of political or personal motives having nothing to do with the law.

            If they are so sure that CJ Roberts is guilty of rank favoritism, then why don’t they clamor for an impeachment inquiry?  They act as though it’s a given that the SCOTUS  makes its decisions based on politics.

          • asl3676

            Yes…I am saying that, based upon your hypothetical Justice O’Conner did nothing legally or constitutionally wrong..

  • http://shawmut.blogspot.com/ Dave O’Connor

    It does neither me, nor anybody else, any good to score the Court on it’s decision.  The paths have been taken, and ‘post verbam’s’ will do us no good.
    For this “Brave New World” we might as well take up the option left us.
    In suggesting it is not the Courts role to protect voters from their decisions; I am reminded of the school principle who just can’t catch the bully in the act, but recognizes the guilt.
    Turning his or her back on the students, he or she might suggest that this matter should not be dealt with in an untoward manner – then, turning back, saying; “At least don’t let me catch you.” “Don’t let me catch you” the suggestion stands. I’ve witnessed that a few times; sometimes peace found its level. (In the service it was quite effective.)

    (Remember how not long before Roberts recent benficiary threw a Congressional State of the Tantrum when the Court loosened the bonds on campaign financing.)

    What I find challenging is whether the ‘Bravery” for this “New World” is as sustaining as it was in our past history. Or has it been replaced with a void of character completely.
    I’m not even sure that ‘Americana’ gets the hint.
    There is a font of opportunity in our votes.  Let’s hope – no – pray – that we do more than just sip.
    As well’ “There is a font of opportunity in our” voices. But, we have to articulate the messages to fit in that abbreviated attention span of our fellows.
    (Yeah, I know, I could polish mine up a bit.)

  • Annien

    Obama has played golf over 100x, an astronomical amount of fundraising and then his notoriously expensive vacations.  Who is doing the job?  He is the puppet, who is the puppeteer?

    • asl3676

      Did you vote for Obama in 2008? Did you care about how many vacations Bush took? Did you care that Bush committed war crimes? STOP WHINING ABOUT OBAMA…HE”S GOING TO BE IN OFFICE FOUR MORE YEARS.

      • Tim Ned

        Please show us the arrest warrants; the evidence; the conviction where Bush was proven a war criminal?

    • jeromezacny

      Ever hear of George Soros?

  • EddieD_Boston

    I think Roberts is dumb like a fox. He wants the election to be a referendum on the economy and Obamacare. If that is the case in November Obama loses.

    Then Romney will appoint more conservative judges and conservatives win.

    Brilliant dude.

    • James King

      Give me a break. He’s afraid of the pres.

    • Buffalo Springfield…60’s

      Brilliant he is…2010 on steroids in November

  • FloridaJim

    When Americans realize, if they realize, what Obama has done he will be vilified not elected. He is making America a Marxist country with him in the Stalin role controlling everyone and everything.

    • Markabaird

      Do you purchase Reynold’s aliminum foil to wear on your head?

  • RonKean

    The Liberal media is fighting the preferences of the majority of Americans.  The Liberal media is still powerful and is still encouraging people to think opposition to the President is racism or the efforts of the greedy rich.

    • Paul Courtney

      Ron:  Indeed.  Saw an article this am from AP that the rate of Bank failures is slowing.  Haven’t poured through the archives, but I’m betting last article on bank failures from AP was printed in, say, Jan. ’09.  Reading between the lines (no other way to read the progressive press), it’s obvious the rate of bank failures rose in fall ’08, and they had to wait 3.5 yrs to report on this because it never went down.  Now it’s presented as going down, giving readers the impression… things are getting better!  Have never seen a word on how signature Dem Bank reform (Dodd-Frank) failed to stop MF Global, or B of A losses, or even slowed bank failures.  Dems can feel very comfy that press will keep ignoring bad news, until Rs take over.  No fix in sight.  

    • EddieD_Boston

      You’re right. The Boston Globe keeps claiming people want it. I’m sure all the Globe staff members want it but they’re are all looney liberals.

      Serious group-think issues plague the media.

      • http://shawmut.blogspot.com/ Dave O’Connor

        Maybe “looney” lemmings identifies the Globe. The leading print for the “Athens of Attitude”.

    • Markabaird

      And conservative media and this site will save the world.

      • RonKean

        If anybody can, Bernie can.

  • James King

    Bernie: All of your what-ifs are potentially right. But for your subscribers to believe it is all the product of Dems in spite of how strongly they may believe it to be true, such problems in modern times are the product of both Republicans and Democrats. It didn’t get this way simply because of the Dems. As for the Supreme Court the problem began with Marbury v. Madison when Marshall made the declaration that it is up to the Court to say what the law is. That is wrong, but has been embraced by pols and citizens since.

    Certainly as long as I have been alive and at least 100 years before I was born in 1939, politicians of all sorts of stripes have duped an uninvolved citizenry into believing that black is white and vice versa. Our founders celebrated the rights of individuals, but modern pols of both parties despise the individual. Hell, we even enshrine the Socialist, Teddy Roosevelt on Mt. Rushmore. Black is white.

    So to all of you who blame liberals and all of you who blame conservatives, you are all to blame. Wally, for example, like millions of Americans certainly do not support individual rights and has indicated it by getting his undies in a bunch for anyone other than a man and woman being married.

    America is dead, and it has been made dead by people like Obama, Bush, and Wally, but it started by the first president being the first person to violate the Constitution at the end of his Oath of Office. The words, so help me God, are not in the Oath.

    I vote libertarian, even though I know they won’t win, because I will not give my vote to immoral Dems and Repubs and people like Wally.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GC36UFUX3FP57OIQ74YHHQUL3M wally

      @ James King: I think you should vote for what you believe. Congratulations. I also believe in many of libertarian opinions. I find myself agreeing with many of the ideas of John Stossel. That doesn’t mean I believe in all of them including some from republicans. I usually find that I have little agreement with liberal ideas. On the question of marriage, I will stick to my statement. The word marriage should not be redefined. I have no problem with members of the same sex to form a union. Just don’t call it marriage. Coin another word that gives taxation rights etc. to the couple. As my last example, would you be happy to have libertarian called democrat or republican? I think not. 

      • James King

        Wally: Apples and oranges. dems are what they are, repubs are what they are and libertarians are what they are, and that is completely different. You are extremely condescending to opine that union is acceptable and marriage is not. Suppose, for instance, that applied to “the earth is flat.”

        I simply think you are blinded by religion, or some belief in a Creator, all of which can easily be proven to be scientifically imaginary. Also, how can you give rights to one and deny them to another, which is, not yours to grant.

        I have two friends in Florida who have been together for 40 years and they are also the most patriotic people I know, and I know this from the email I receive that they send to their circle to fly the flag, etc. of ways to express that you love America. My sister was gay and in the navy in the 40s and 50s and 60s. She and Lois, (they are both dead now) at one point got married to two gay guys and lived in the same house in Lake Bluff, IL to not get drummed out of the Navy that they loved.

        America was founded not by people who believe in what Dems and Repubs. believe in today, but in what libertarians believe in, though some of them, including Washington but not Jefferson, were also blinded by such irrational beliefs taught by all of the religions in the world, and those are immoral.

        Didn’t mean to start something else, and I don’t know you, but no one has the moral right to tell another what they should be doing as long as they are not committing acts of aggression against others. I believe that the only moral law should be that forcing people who have harmed no one to comply with what someone else believes is against the law. Who are you to say that gay people should not allowed to marry and call it marriage?

        When the debates were going on poll after poll indicated that the man who could beat Obama was Ron Paul. I predict that all of you who want the pres. defeated, and that includes me, will be dissapointed in one way or the other. If Romney wins, he will not move, as he has already stated, to cut spending, only the rate of spending, and we all know what Obama will do. But voting for Repubs & Dems has gotten us here, not just the current pres.

        • Paul Courtney

          James, please forgive those of us so blinded by religion, we fail to see how Washington’s four superfluous words overwhelm his whole libertarian life, particularly stepping away (not once but twice) from virtual coronations (possibly the most libertarian acts in history).  We fail to see how religious zealots kept gay marriage from emerging as a civil right for two thousand yrs in the West (not to mention virtually all cultures across the world for even longer).  We can’t even see how we oppressed your friends in FL, stopping them from quietly pursuing happiness as they saw fit for over 40 yrs.  My imagination is so limited, I’m left to wonder if ordinary gay folks are comfortable being thrust into the spotlight by a few gay activists determined to turn any subject into a demand that marriage be defined by a few overwrought activists.  We’re just too blinded to see that thousands of yrs of very consistent history across regions and cultures is the result of our bigotry, and flipping a very well-worn institution like it was a pancake because YOU think it’s the REAL libertarian thing to do, is how we should proceed.  Yeah, WE’RE the blind ones. 

          • James King

            Paul, you are blind. As for Washington, who I regard as the greatest American, he just could not make the leap from libertarian instincts to Objectivism, perhaps because it had not yet been created.

            Religious zealots did keep gay marriage from emerging because it is based on a false premise in part from one of the most vile books ever written; the Bible. And in the Bible as an example, if you read it that is and not just rely on The Ten Commandments, Moses is ordered to murder and does, thousands of people because they built a golden calf. And he does this after supposedly receiving the word on tablets, one of which tells humans to not kill.

            And lastly, just because something has lasted for thousands of years does not make it right or true. Racism has lasted for thousands of years and even ordered in the Bible, or did you miss that part, and it is the result of bigotry. As for libertarianism, it is still one step behind where it should be, and that is Objectivism.

            I know that I am in the vast minority, but that does not make me wrong and you right. In fact it is just the opposite, for I have evidence to support what I have just said and you and the mast majority do not. It just holds that the majority is always wrong, as Ibsen’s main character in one of his plays, An Enemy of the People, well-played many years ago by Steve McQueen. If you haven’t heard of it look it up, get a copy and watch it. But it is bigotry and it is chutzbah to have the balls to believe that you and other like-minded people believe you are better than gay people. I sure don’t and I am straight. But I am also not bigoted either and you are.

          • wally

            Please James King give us a break. You state that the majority is always wrong. Do you really mean to say this or is that a typo? If you mean this then the homeless man on the street is always right. As for most people that are Christian, they rely on the teaching of Christ who was compassionate. We are too. Sure, we do not believe in gay marriage but we recognize that some people are born with different genes. If these people want to have a union that is fine. Just do not call it marriage since that term has already been used to describe a union between a man and a woman.

          • Paul Courtney

            So I’ve been called a bigot.  Because I believe I’m better than gay people.  You sure don’t, though you seem to believe you’re better than the religious, racists, libertarians who come up short, those in the “mast” majority, who haven’t read Ibsen (I haven’t, but I did watch Buddy Ebsen, does that count?).  Oh, and you’re better than bigots.  Did I leave anyone out?  For the record, I deny any bigotry, as if that message would translate to your native tongue.  Your attack on the Bible is pretty routine stuff, but beside the point- what of other cultures pre-dating the Bible which have never had “gay” marriage, those which don’t recognize any authority in the Bible, what do you make of them?  All bigots, I suppose?  Blinded by believing we’re right with a vast majority who are perfectly willing to recognize essential civil rights, just not create a new one at the whim of a few impassioned activists.  Is there some principal in objectivity that requires being in a tiny minority to be right?    

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GC36UFUX3FP57OIQ74YHHQUL3M wally

    Bernie:  I like your article. When the news of CJ Roberts opinion came out, I like most conservatives thought that we had been sold out. However, after reading C Krauthammer’s analysis on the Roberts ruling, I’ve changed my mind. Roberts was way ahead of everyone. He set so many good precedents with this ruling that we will thank him for years to come. The only problem I have with the decision is that the bill was passed as a penalty and not a tax. Roberts redefined the wording to tax. Does this change also mean that any words that congress or anyone  uses be changed by the court to mean whatever they think it means? The example that comes to mind is the word marriage. For over 2000 years the word has meant a union between man and woman. What right does anyone have to redefine it to mean a union between members of the same sex? Maybe I’m being too paranoid. 

  • Drew Page

    Bernie  —  If it’s not a tax, why does the Obama administration plan to hire all those additional IRS agents to enforce this law?    It’s been said that the power to tax is the power to destroy.   I believe that we are about to discover just how true that admonition is.   Who is going to protect the taxpaying American from the rapaciousness of this administration?  

  • connie C

    No one in a black robe can be more evil than the ones who legalized the slaughter of babies in the womb, and the mainstreaming of Sodomy!

  • SendTheClunkerBackToChicago

    It is always fun to play the “lets suppose” game but this radical progressive nightmare can all come to a screaching halt if the Republican members of Congress, especially the newest members who haven’t been corrupted by the RINOS would grab hold of Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s gun belt and follow the patriot/hero into battle.  The FIRST Press Conference held on March 1st, 2012 delivered enough criminal evidence that would have been the end of any Republican candidate or representative but the whimpy Republicans and whimpy conservative media were disgustingly silent.  There is going to be a SECOND Sheriff Joe Arpaio Press Conference on July 17th in Phoenix with even more crimial evidence on display making Watergate looking like a walk in the park.  What will the whimps do with this.  Below is a link from the DRUDGE REPORT today about Barack Hussein Obama’s fraudulent SS#.  Add this to the April 27th, 2011 computer generated forged birth certificate and the fraudulent Selective Service registration you would think the smart guys in the Conservative media would begin to realize they have a fraud and usurper in the White House.  “Lets suppose” Conservatives look down to see if their manhood is still in sight and grab hold of Arpaio’s boot straps and help this guy expose this crap. 


    Mike Huckabee has scheduled an interview with LTC (MD) Terry Lakin (another American hero and patriot) this Saturday on his Fox News TV show.  I hope Bernie and Bill O’Reilly tune into the show and maybe really stick their neck out and cover the SECOND Sheriff Joe Arpaio Press Conference, after all it has the potential of becoming the scandal of the CENTURY. 

  • robin in fl

    as much as I enjoy your articles Bernie,when I read ones such as this it scares me..and trust me I do not scare easily..unfortunately what you wrote could come to pass I believe.

    I am far from a paranoid ,delusional person,and have for many years thought I was a sane thinking ‘rebel with a cause’,when I read this sort of thing it does make me think..yea..what if???? what if the government starts to go to such an extreme …just what would I do??

    well I do know I would not ‘go with it’..I am not much of a follower like that..and I believe there are a LOT of others that would not just sit back and obey,,,then what happens?? well who knows,it may get ugly or many may just try and fly under the radar.time will tell.

      robin in fl

  • John Daly

    It’s a legitimate point for sure. The claim by some of the pundits I’ve listened to is that Roberts narrowed the Commerce Clause, thus he did a good thing.

    I completely disagree. To me, it seems that he set a precedent for more legislation like Obamacare to get passed under false pretenses, only to be treated ultimately as a tax.

    • kayakbob

      I have to agree…as painful as it is. I read the piece posted by Charles Krauthhammer, no mental midget he, but I still can’t see the so-called silver lining of any of this. This is the ring of a bell, and we can’t un-ring a bell.  

      The supporters of this legislation and the [now] SC ruling, don’t care about the nuances or whether any limits have been placed on the Commerce Clause.  All they care about, and all they can see is “it’s constitutional!”. Whether it is simply bad policy doesn’t enter into the thinking at all.

      No, I am deeply troubled by this one giant step toward more entitlement mentality. Before this ruling I felt like those of us that don’t subscribe to the entitlement & dependency mentality were putting our fingers in a leaking dike frantically trying to prevent the dam from bursting.

      I still see no good in any of the fine print from Justice Roberts.  

      Is this the straw that breaks the camels back? I sure hope not, but “hope” is part of what got us to this point. 

    • http://shawmut.blogspot.com/ Dave O’Connor

      Right, John.  It leaves the Commerce Clause untouched. Frankly, defining both ‘the Commerce Clause’ and the “power to tax” would have fit into the decisions.

    • Paul Courtney

      John:  Agree with you.  I’m ashamed a “conservative” like Roberts can see a federalism that protects the States, but the Ninth Amendment doesn’t protect  the individual from a tax that forces us to buy insurance.  Hard to perceive something good in the details when this overarching result stares at me.  This may come across as silly, but can the fed gov’t now require individual to make income, impose a “tax” on those who don’t?  Even the income tax doesn’t go that far, and they needed a constitutional amendment for income tax.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Tharp/100001764373776 John Tharp

    We may have opened pandora’s box when F.D.R. was president and then again when the Supremes legalized abortion 40 years ago. Judicial  activism is real, and has already comtaminated our society with liberal polocies.

  • Pedwin

    Couldn’t all of the above scenarios occur regardless if the Supreme Court decision? Don’t many if these scenarios exist today? For example, aren’t there penalties/taxes for not filing taxes, not following EPA regulations, buying tobacco, discrimination? Doesn’t the government already legislate behavior – i.e. tax breaks for home ownership, various deductions – including breaks for married couples, etc?

    I don’t see how this decision provides for the potential for monumental change – rather, it just seems to confirm what already exists.

    • Drew Page

      You don’t see how this decision provides for the potential for monumental change?    What happens when a Democrat controlled House, Senate and White House decides that everyone must drive a battery powered car only and imposes a tax of $20.00 a gallon on gasoline?   What happens when such a Democrat  controlled government decides that the only allowable energy used to heat and cool your home must be generated by solar panels and taxes the bejesus out of electric power generated by any other means?   What happens when such a government decides that fat people drive up the cost of Obamacare and mandates everyone’s Body Mass Index and taxes the hell out of those who don’t meet government requirements?  

      Gasoline, gasoline powered internal combustion engines, electricity generated by water powered turbines, or the burning of fossil fuels, or nuclear fuels are not illegal, neither is sugar, salt or foods loaded with them.  Being fat isn’t illegal and neither is being stupid.  If you are of legal age, cigerattes, booze and alternative lifestyles are also not illegal.   I want the government to keep its damned nose out of these things, the same way the government insists that we keep our nose out of  “a woman’s right to choose”.

  • beniyyar

    Of course you are right,   Bernie, bad choices and judgments can and often do lead to bad consequences. But these bad consequences are by no means inevitable if enough right thinking and responsible citizens campaign and vote into power moral and decent political and legal leaders. American democracy has successfully met, confronted, and ultimately overcome worse challenges than Obamacare, which is why America is the greatest nation in the history of the world.

    • SendTheClunkerBackToChicago

      The biggest “bad choice” and “bad judgment” of this century came when Republicans (John McCain in particular) and the Conservative media refused to pressure Barack Hussein Obama to go through the same “natural born Citizen” test the liberal BIRTHERS put McCain through.  At that time the only evidence that we had of this Clunker from Chicago being born in Hawaii was his word, no damn document.  There were people who were part of the Clinton campaign (Philip Berg) who attempted to investigate but it went no where.  Someone or something scared them off.  Liberals never give in, Conservatives and RINOS tuck their tails between their legs at the first sign of controversey.  BAD CHOICES and BAD JUDGMENT and now a NIGHTMARE!!

  • DOOM

    Now you suddenly have the Obama administration (and all its puppets) arguing that Obamacare is unconstitutional (since their claim is that it’s a penalty).  They could have saved us so much time and money if they had decided it was unconstitutional to begin with.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cincorva Camille Suzanne Incorvaia

    Let’s all be hopeful about this.  I feel it is a two-edged sword, the decision on Obamacare.  I read an opinion by Charles Krauthammer and it explained some
    helpful thoughts about the decision and how this is workable to get it repealed.
    Check it out.  It will make you feel better.
    It’s pasted below:
    June 28, 2012To all my friends, particularly those conservatives who are despondent over the searing betrayal by Chief Justice John Roberts and the pending demise of our beloved country, I offer this perspective to convey some profound hope and evidence of the Almighty’s hand in the affairs of men in relation to the Supreme Court’s decision on Obamacare.I initially thought we had cause for despondency when I only heard the results of the decision and not the reason or the make-up of the sides. I have now read a large portion of the decision and I believe that it was precisely the result that Scalia, Alito, Thomas, Roberts and even Kennedy wanted and not a defeat for conservatism or the rule of law. I believe the conservatives on the court have run circles around the liberals and demonstrated that the libs are patently unqualified to be on the Supreme Court. Let me explain.First let me assure you that John Roberts is a conservative and he is not dumb, mentally unstable, diabolical, a turncoat, a Souter or even just trying to be too nice. He is a genius along with the members of the Court in the dissent. The more of the decision I read the more remarkable it became. It is not obvious and it requires a passable understanding of Constitutional law but if it is explained anyone can see the beauty of it.The decision was going to be a 5-4 decision no matter what, so the allegation that the decision was a partisan political decision was going to be made by the losing side and their supporters. If the bill was struck down completely with Roberts on the other side there would have been a national and media backlash against conservatives and probably strong motivation for Obama supporters to come out and vote in November. With today’s decision that dynamic is reversed and there is a groundswell of support for Romney and Republicans, even for people who were formerly lukewarm toward Romney before today, additionally Romney raised more than 3 million dollars today.Next, merely striking the law without the support of Democrats and libs would have left the fight over the commerce clause and the “necessary and proper “ clause and the federal government’s role in general festering and heading the wrong way as it has since 1942. As a result of the decision the libs are saying great things about Roberts; how wise, fair and reasonable he is. They would never have said that without this decision even after the Arizona immigration decision on Monday. In the future when Roberts rules conservatively it will be harder for the left and the media to complain about the Robert’s Court’s fairness. That’s why he as Chief Justice went to the other side for this decision not Scalia, Alito, Thomas or Kennedy, all of whom I believe would have been willing to do it.Next let’s look at the decision itself. Thankfully Roberts got to write it as Chief Justice and it is a masterpiece. (As I write this the libs don’t even know what has happened they just think Roberts is great and that they won and we are all going to have free, unlimited healthcare services and we are all going to live happily ever after.) He first emphatically states that Obamacare is unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause saying you cannot make people buy stuff. Then he emphatically states that it is unconstitutional under the “necessary and proper” clause which only applies to “enumerated powers” in the US Constitution. Justices Ginsberg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan all went along with these statements. They never would have gone along with that sentiment if that was the basis for striking the law in total. This is huge because this means that the Court ruled 9-0 that Obamacare was unconstitutional under the Commerce clause which was Obama’s whole defense of the bill. They also ruled 9-0 on the “necessary and proper” clause. Even better both of these rulings were unnecessary to the decision so it is gravy that we got the libs to concede this and it will make it easier to pare away at both theories in the future, which we must do. Well done.Roberts, through very tortured reasoning, goes on to find that the taxing law provides the Constitutionality for the law. Virtually everyone agrees that the Federal government has the power to do this as it does with the mortgage deduction for federal income taxes. This too is huge because Obama assiduously avoided using the term “tax” and now he has to admit this law is a tax and it is on everyone even the poor. That will hurt him hugely in the polls and will help Romney. More importantly though is the fact that this makes this a budgetary issue that can be voted on in the Senate by a mere majority instead of 60 votes needed to stop a filibuster. That means that if the Republicans can gain a majority in the Senate, it can vote to repeal Obamacare in total.Finally the Court voted 7-2 to strike down the punitive rules that take away money from states that do not expand Medicare as required in Obamacare. This too is huge because we got Kagan and Breyer to join this decision and it can easily be applied to many other cases of extortion the Federal government uses to force states to do things they don’t want to. This is also amazing because Obamacare has no severability clause so by striking the Medicaid mandate portion as unconstitutional the whole bill should have been struck. If that happened none of these other benefits would have been accomplished. I haven’t read far enough to know how he did it but I am sure it is brilliant.So to recap the Roberts court through a brilliant tactical maneuver has: strengthened the limitations of the commerce clause and the necessary and proper clause by a unanimous decision, made Obama raise taxes on the poor and middle classes, converted Obamacare into a tax program repealable with 51 votes in the Senate, enhanced Romney’s and Republican’s fundraising and likelihood of being elected in November, weakened federal extortion and got the left to love Roberts and sing his praises all without anyone even noticing. Even Obama is now espousing the rule of law just 2 weeks after violating it with his deportation executive order.That is why I have decided this was a genius decision and that I did in fact get a great birthday present today not to mention U. S. Attorney General Eric Holder being held in contempt. What a day.

  • Bruce A.

    The USA  once was a free countyr.

  • Tom Pflimlin

    Please, Bernie, offer Romney your services.  He needs some sound advice AND logic!

  • Jenna

    Is there any way to overturn this horrible ruling?

  • Paul Courtney

    Bernie:  Several solid examples from a nearly endless list, and Kathie A (and a few others) below beat me to the “shoe on the other foot” warning to progressives who get what they wish for.   When NYT and the rest get this, and grasp that it’s being paid for almost entirely by elderly (medicare cut-$500 M.) and working class uninsured, can we sell tickets or will heads exploding be like free fireworks? 

    • asl3676

      Another example of Goldberg and right wing whining. A massive intrusion? Bernie is on Medicare which is government healthcare.
      I think Bernie should stick to playing O’Reilly’s puppet. His appearances on O’Reilly have to be embarrassing but I’m sure he’s well paid for them.

      • Paul Courtney

        Yeah, we’re just whiners.  We should look to the example of strong, omniscient folks like you, since you know that Bernie’s been hospitalized at some point since his 65th birthday, (hey, didn’t the feds make that private?), you even know Bill O’s payroll.  You can see clearly how lots more spending, funded in small part by tax on working class, will lead us whiners out of 15 T debt.  We’ll need strong folks like you to determine who gets those shrinking gov’t handouts (you won’t just print more dollars, promise?) as we go “Forward”.  

        • asl3676

          Whats interesting about Republican whiners is that they only whine about defecists when Dems are in office. Yes, I know the standard line ” I was no fan of Bush” but you were quiet.
          Face it, Dems may be the party of social welfare but Republicans are the party of war, guns and screwing the middle class.

          • Jeffreydan

            Okay, we’ll do it your way. Throughout President Bush’s 2 terms, democrat whiners blathered about being in bed with corporate fat cats, but you sure are quiet about Obama’s generous treatment of HIS favorite fat cats, often with our tax dollars. You whined about how that Nazi Bush was supposedly stifling dissent, but now we have Obama actually doing that, and not a peep out of you.
              Yeah, shame on those Republican warmongers Roosevelt, Truman, and Kennedy. And how’s that middle class doing under Obama’s control? Sorry, your whining about Republicans ain’t gonna work now.
              Except for travesties like Fast & Furious, Republicans are indeed the party of guns. You know those tools secured for us by the Constitution that rapists and burglars prefer their victims not have. It’s a far better title than your thoroughly earned Party of Hypocrisy and Lawlessness.        

  • Adrian Kaufman

    Based on the example you posted about electric cars, they already do that (atleast in NY) on your insurance. If you own a v8 or larger they charge you a gas guzzler charge

  • Rogyeldoog

    I’m an Englishman who loves America, and mostly the idea of what America is (was).
    I find it very sad that America appears to be following all the statist mistakes and delusions that Western Europe had so clearly demonstrated over the last few decades.
    I don’t blame it all on Obama but he is the worst yet.
    I haven’t before seen a US resident who so clearly doesn’t like or respect the nation he is representing and this is most clearly demonstrated in his refusal to work within the ‘checks and balances’ of the tripartite government structure.
    It was designed to provide a restraint on extremism and this seems to infuriate him.

    • rogyeldoog

      That was supposed to read .. President … not resident!

  • DaveHop

    Hey Kathie, that’s why EVERYONE should be upset with this ruling, not just Conservatives and Republicans.

  • JohnInMA

    The worst aspect of the precedence in my view is that fact that the elected class has been empowered now to take even more money, call it NOT A TAX, and be allowed to do so under the “taxing powers”.  So, a tax is no longer a tax but any excuse to take money from the public, whether apportioned to income or just simply punitive.   There appears to now be no end to the ability and reasoning/circumstances to take money.

    And worse, why should we believe that the GOP won’t take advantage of that new endless power? Perhaps not now given the anger of the public about spending and debt. But after that crisis abides, the floodgates could open again.

  • a_pismo_klamm

    And in 1930’s Germany, a democratic election in time of great fiscal crisis yielded Adolf Hitler.

  • Gerjanel

    Or as Rep. Allan West writes—every American should purchase a Glock 9mm pistol, or be taxed….

    • DrSique

      See, there goes big government guy, Allen West, trying to force me into buying a Glock when I prefer to own a Sig Sauer MK25. That’s how progressivism works. In all honesty, Congressman West is an American hero and one of the few federal officials who “gets it”.

      • asl3676

        If  a bomb thrower like Alan West is your hero can I assume that you’ll be at the movies this weekend to see your other “hero” Spiderman? 

    • RonKean

      Nothing was wrong with my Smith & Wesson 38 Special

  • Edward Caiazzo

    If the Republicans win it all…Congress, the Senate, and the Presidency…cant an amendment to the Constitution be passed to prevent this?

    • DrSique

      Yup, the Constitution can be amended at any time but it is a very difficult process.

    • Kevin

       We have that.  It’s called the Tenth Amendment.

  • Kathie Ampela

    The door swings both way…what if a Republican controlled House and Senate requires liberals to: go to church every Sunday or pay a tax, sing in the church choir or pay a tax, own a bible or pay a tax or buy a gun or pay a tax.

    • molledar

      We’ve gone much farther down the road Bernie describes than the “go to church tax” road. That much is pretty obvious. 

    • Bruskie

      This seems like a wild and silly example, however, when did anyone on the left think their socialist cronies would force them to be responsible and own health insurance or “tax” them if they are not responsible?  Just days if not hours before the supreme court decision to allow this “bill of health” the Obama’s and company were calling the “mandate” a republican influenced idea.  Obviously this was before they realized the bill would be decided the way it was by the courts.  I can’t wait to see the Occupiers reaction when their mandated tax is doled out to them!!

    • Brhurdle

      I applaud your analysis. However, since the SCOTUS has approved a punitive tax as constitutional, I think the effort would be better spent in passing an ammendment to the constitution prohibiting the use of punitive taxes that would be retroactive.

      • Charlie

         Punitive tax…interesting.

        I wonder then, if we could still get this whole mess declared un-Constitutional by virtues of the clause that forbids writs of remander, which is essentially what this is- it’s punishing a group of people that can’t or won’t by health insurance, or, if they have ample resources, health insurance may be deemed a waste of money.

        I wonder if this is something we should begin looking into.

  • GlenFS

    What would our founders say?  Shame.