My attempt here is not to add more commentary to the Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act (“ObamaCare”), but instead to point out the gems within the majority opinion.
No matter which side of the issue you fall on, every educated citizen can easily follow the reasoning used to decide it.
The Framers created a Federal Government of limited powers, and assigned to this Court the duty of enforcing those limits. The Court does so today. But the Court does not express any opinion on the wisdom of the Affordable Care Act. Under the Constitution, that judgment is reserved to the people. ~ Chief Justice Roberts page 65*
* All page numbers reference the page number of the PDF not the pages printed in the document.
America is a nation of laws and the Chief Justice deferred to the legislation created and signed by the other two branches of the Federal Government. In his own words:
Members of this Court are vested with the authority to interpret the law; we possess neither the expertise nor the prerogative to make policy judgments. Those decisions are entrusted to our Nation’s elected leaders, who can be thrown out of office if the people disagree with them. It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices. ~ Chief Justice Roberts page 12
This is exactly the deference of power Republicans have been screaming about for years! “Activist judges writing laws from the bench.” Well Justice Roberts deferred to the better judgement and intentions of the elected legislators no matter how foolish the law may be. That is not for the Court to decide.
Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness. ~ Chief Justice Roberts page 50
Justice Roberts goes to great lengths to explain why the individual mandate can not be enforced through the commerce clause, which for many conservatives should be a relief.
Congress already enjoys vast power to regulate much of what we do. Accepting the Government’s theory [to use the Commerce Clause] would give Congress the same license to regulate what we do not do, fundamentally changing the relation between the citizen and the Federal Government. ~ Chief Justice Roberts page 29
Instead of yammer on about how Justice Roberts ruled on the case though, you can read it directly in his beautifully penned 59 page opinion. And that is the real heart of my post – why let bumbling fools filter the news down to you in small understandable spoonfuls when the source material is so rich and freely available?
The next 126 days will be filled with more hot air and screaming about this topic than anyone could wish for. Why not go to the source and mute the power of the fools who incorrectly translate such a key decision?
The power of our country is not in the ruling class or the media industry translating the news down to us. Through open and immediate access online I read through the 59 pages of text in the time that most reporters were finishing their first articles. The only form of genuine protest I know against the ignorance spewed on Fox News is not by watching MSNBC or any other news source – it’s by better informing myself with the true source of information. Many articles and videos now include links to the source material. The reporters role is still meaningful in providing summaries to more issues than I have time to investigate, but for major issues such as this Supreme Court ruling why read 10 articles when I can read 59 pages from one of the sharpest minds in the country?
The writers of all this commentary get paid to fill pages with words or TV airtime with words. Justice Roberts cogently laid out his reasoning for future generations of judges and everyday Americans to understand how such a crucial decision can be made without defaulting to partisan answers. Conservatives are flabbergasted that Chief Justice Roberts would “turn to the dark side,” ruling in favor of ObamaCare, but that’s really a terrible summary of what happened here. Read the source material! Vast portions include quotes from the Framers and their efforts to create a pragmatic country governed by clear laws.
As we have explained, “the framers of the Constitution were not mere visionaries, toying with speculations or theories, but practical men, dealing with the facts of political life as they understood them, putting into form the government they were creating, and prescribing in language clear and intelligible the powers that government was to take.” ~ Chief Justice Roberts quoting from historic rulings on page 30
Ultimately, if America elects a massive majority of Democrats to the House, almost a super majority to the Senate, and a Democrat to the White House then the American people have spoken. For the high court to overturn the law on the basis of partisan views would be the greatest betrayal to the people who, however mislead or foolish you might think they are, worked to pass healthcare reform.
If you have a better plan go forth and elect your own fools.