Friday, June 29, 2012

ObamaCare Victory -- Need Help in Figuring Out What Happened? Where To Go Now?

I kinda' figured this would happen; namely, the sun came up this morning.

Despite the shocking ruling that came down from the Supreme Court yesterday, a decision that seemingly twisted logic, morality and the U.S. Constitution in order to uphold ObamaCare, the world didn't end.

So may I offer for your consideration a few angles on the Court decision that you may have missed? Some of these articles hold out hope for the future of the Constitutional system. Some see John Roberts as a cunning conservative hero, others as a cowardly shill, bullied by Barack Obama and the New York Times. Some deal with the crucial next steps we must make to fight the evils of abortion funding, care containment and coerced socialism that is ObamaCare.

All make for important reading.

Do You Feel Like a Winner?

* "If you were above all interested in the bill being struck down, it was mostly a loss. On the other hand, if you were more concerned about the qualitative expansion in the power of the government that the bill represented, it was definitely a win.

First, the Roberts Court put real limits on what the government can and cannot do. For starters, it restricted the limits of the Commerce Clause, which does not give the government the power to create activity for the purpose of regulating it. This is a huge victory for those of us who believe that the Constitution is a document which offers a limited grant of power.

Second, the Roberts Court also threw out a portion of the Medicaid expansion. States have the option of withdrawing from the program without risk of losing their funds. This is another major victory for conservatives who cherish our system of dual sovereignty. This was also a big policy win for conservatives; the Medicaid expansion was a major way the Democrats hid the true cost of the bill, by shifting costs to the states, but they no longer can do this…" (Jay Cost, "What Did SCOTUS Just Do?" at the Weekly Standard.)

Do You Feel Like a Winner? Number 2

* "Conservatives won a substantial victory Thursday. The physics of American politics — actions provoking reactions — continues to move the crucial debate, about the nature of the American regime, toward conservatism. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. has served this cause.

The health-care legislation’s expansion of the federal government’s purview has improved our civic health by rekindling interest in what this expansion threatens — the Framers’ design for limited government. Conservatives distraught about the survival of the individual mandate are missing the considerable consolation prize they won when the Supreme Court rejected a constitutional rationale for the mandate — Congress’s rationale — that was pregnant with rampant statism.

The case challenged the court to fashion a judicially administrable principle that limits Congress’s power to act on the mere pretense of regulating interstate commerce. At least Roberts got the court to embrace emphatic language rejecting the Commerce Clause rationale for penalizing the inactivity of not buying insurance…" (George Will, "Conservative's Consolation Prize" in the Washington Post.)

The Pro-Lifer's Call to Arms

* National Right to Life President Carol Tobias "said today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding most of the ObamaCare law is a call-to-action for the right-to-life electorate to work to elect a Congress and president this November committed to repealing ObamaCare in 2013, in order to prevent a future in which abortion insurance will be heavily subsidized by federal taxpayers and federal bureaucrats will be authorized to ration life-saving medical treatment." (From "Supreme Court Upholds Pro-Abortion, Pro-Rationing Obamacare" at LifeNews. com.)

Limited Government Idea Is In "Imminent Danger"

* "The idea that the Supreme Court would save us from Obamacare is more fitting for Greek drama, with its device of the deus ex machina, than for modern constitutional law. The big legal fight over Obamacare was a good one, one worth having — and more remain — but I didn’t think the Court was going to save us from this monstrous pseudo-law.

Nevertheless, the litigation over Obamacare provides a good education in the idea of limited constitutional government and the imminent danger of its passing. It also demonstrates the jeopardy in which Obamacare has placed it. To borrow an expression from another of the Supreme Court’s First Amendment mistakes, Obamacare poses a clear and present danger to limited constitutional government.

Now the fight against Obamacare will be won if it all only on the political battlefield. The Supreme Court has relegated us to the remedy of self-help. The time, coincidentally, is now." (Scott Johnson, "Take This Tax" from PowerLine.)

Is Roberts a Conservative After All?

* "Chief Justice John Roberts has handed a remarkable victory to American conservatives by threading the judicial needle with perfect precision.  The initial disappointment collectively felt by Americans who had hoped for a Supreme Court ruling that would overturn Obamacare soon will be replaced, upon further reflection, by the excitement that will come with a fuller appreciation of what the Chief Justice has wrought." (Dov Fischer, "The Chief Justice Done Good" at American Thinker. See also Charles Krauthammer's "Why Roberts Did It" at NRO and Tom Scocca|'s "Obama Wins the Battle, Roberts Wins the War" at Slate.)

Or Is Roberts Just Another SCOTUS Wimp?

* "Roberts’s decision is no conservative Trojan Horse. Any limit it established on the Commerce Clause is more than overpowered by its chilling finding that 'the Constitution does not guarantee…individuals may avoid taxation through inactivity.'

Nor do I see the opinion as a chess move in some long-term gambit. I’m more sympathetic to the view that Roberts felt the pressure, as guardian of the institution, to rule narrowly in a way that would split the difference and protect the Court’s legitimacy. But if he felt such pressure, that in itself is depressing, evidence that the political Left’s sustained attack was effective." (Daniel Foster's "Hate the Decision, Love the Response, Tip of the Cap to Justice Kennedy" at NRO. See also Rich Lowery's "The Umpire Blinks" at NRO and Ramesh Ponnuru's "In Health-Care Ruling, Roberts Writes His Own Law" at Bloomberg, )

The Commerce Clause Has a Limit?

* "They may have lost the battle on Obamacare, but they now have some weaponry to win future battles on this issue. In a major case, the court has found the Commerce Clause indeed has some limits in a major case, and that really hasn’t happened since the New Deal court  basically abandoned the traditional Constitutional  reading of that clause in 1937." (John Fund, "There’s a Limit on the Commerce Clause" at NRO.)

A Violation of the Commerce Clause? Of Course. But Who Cares?

 * "Those who claimed that Obamacare violated the Commerce Clause were right. From the Supreme Court ruling: 'People, for reasons of their own, often fail to do things that would be good for them or good for society. Those failures—joined with the similar failures of others—can readily have a substantial effect on interstate commerce. Under the Government’s logic, that authorizes Congress to use its commerce power to compel citizens to act as the Government would have them act. That is not the country the Framers of our Constitution envisioned.'

Indeed. But, the majority wanted the policy. So, they rewrote the law to make it a tax case.  That is what is known as judicial legislation."  (Wesley J. Smith, "Obamacare Violated Commerce Clause, But it Doesn’t Matter" at Secondhand Smoke. Also look at Wesley J. Smith's "Obamacare Ruling: Government Didn’t Ask for Mandate to be a Tax.")

Limbaugh -- "The Largest Tax Increase in the History of the World"

* "Hey, folks, have you seen the economic news today?  Have you heard about the unemployment numbers today?  Gross domestic product, have you heard about any of that?  Because I have it here, and it sucks.  It's a disaster.  The economy of this country remains a disaster.  And we, the American people, have just been deceived in ways that nobody contemplated.  And what we now have is the biggest tax increase in the history of the world...

The chief justice was hell-bent to find a way to make this law applicable, so he just decided, you know what, as a tax increase, it works, because there's no limit on the federal government's ability to tax...

The first thing that came down, the mandate, unconstitutional, that was the first thing everybody reported.  Mandate unconstitutional, big sigh of relief.  And then within moments, wait a minute, wait a minute, we're reading further.  Hold it just a second.  The mandate's unconstitutional, but the court has decided it's a tax, and therefore it's okay.

So Obamacare is nothing more than the largest tax increase in the history of the world.  And the people who were characterizing it as such were right and were telling the truth.  We have the biggest tax increase in the history of the world right in the middle of one of this country's worst recessions…

The court upheld a law that was not what we were told it would be.  What has been upheld here is fraud, and the Internal Revenue Service has just become Barack Obama's domestic army.  That is what we face now.  We were deceived.  Obamacare was a lie.  It was a stealth tax on all Americans..." (Rush Limbaugh, "The Court Rules: Obamacare is the Largest Tax Increase in the History of the World" at his website.)

Did Roberts Just Box In Obama, Big-Government Dems?

* "Conservatives gathering now for a low-tech lynching of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. need to take a quick breath of air and think about what he managed to accomplish by upholding President Obama’s highly unpopular, signature piece of legislation.

Though he shocked many by joining the left plank on the high court, Justice Roberts. pretty much did what he was supposed to do. He finally put a boundary on how much freedom the federal government can gobble up from states and individuals under the “commerce clause” — that most specious scheme for so much federal thievery.

Then he told President Obama and his kleptocrats in Congress that they can have their health care law, but they cannot keep lying about it. A tax is a tax and they are liars if they call it anything else. And they just stuck the crippled American taxpayer with one of the biggest, broadest, most regressive tax-hikes in history — and during a deep recession!" (Charles Hurt, "The Silver Lining? Now Obama Owns his Tax Hikes" at the Washington Times.)

Bottom Line? The Court Is Ruining American Democracy, Freedom, and Constitutional Law.

* "I’ve read all the arguments, some ingenious, for why the Roberts majority opinion is actually “good” in the long run. I don’t buy that at all, and worry that rationalizing defeats is no way to learn from them. From now on, the precedent has been established that U.S. citizens can be forced to buy a product that government deems necessary — period. Who cares what a particular president on occasion deems to call it — tax, mandate, whatever — at any given expedient time, or what a justice does to finesse that definition to protect implementation of the law?

The same is true with the Arizona decision. I don’t see how that decision is such great news either: We now live in a country where a state that tries to follow and enforce federal law is seen as a usurping power, while those government entities, such as the sanctuary cities, which deliberately seek to undermine federal immigration law are, for all practical purposes, exempt. Add that Arizona is now supposedly acting unconstitutionally in trying to close its borders, and the president is apparently acting constitutionally as he sidesteps Congress and implements de facto amnesty by fiat, doing far more damage to the notion of federal law than any conceivable action by Arizona. That is surreal.

As for the culture of the Court, we must accept that when four liberal judges vote in typically liberal fashion they are open-minded, and when conservative judges do the same they are partisan and small-minded, putting enormous pressure, apparently, on the latter to now and then vote in liberal fashion, and none at all on the former to do anything but remain orthodox. There is no conservative majority, but rather a 4/3/2 court, with absolutely predictably liberal justices and those inclined often to join them becoming a reliable majority." (Victor Davis Hanson, "Not So Good News" at NRO.)