Obamacare and the End of the Beginning

We shouldn't be trusting in the Supreme Court to save us from statist laws.

To our stunned surprise, the Supreme Court has found the intrusive, onerous, bureaucratic, totalitarian two thousand pages of Obamacare to be perfectly constitutional.

Actually, their rationale makes sense.  Disregard the fact that everybody from Mr. Obama on down said that the various fees and charges decreed by Obamacare were not a tax!  No, the Democrats all said they were fees, disincentives, penalties - anything, anything but a tax!

Except that the Supreme Court said that the Obamacare exactions were taxes, a concept a few of us had suspected all along.  As we all know, Congress has a basically unlimited taxing power.  They can tax whomever and whatever they please, so long as the rules of who and what gets taxed are based on what you do and not on who or what you are.

This isn't the first time the courts have called a President a liar.  Back when Roosevelt promoted Social Security, he called it old age insurance.  Soon afterward, the courts ruled that it was not insurance, it was a welfare program.  As with today's ruling, their reasoning was sound - since Congress can change the rewards and costs of Social Security at any time, it is not insurance in any form even if the President had claimed that it was insurance, not welfare.

So: Mr. Obama and his Democrats lied, big time.  Obamacare doesn't mean you can keep your insurance if you like it because Obamacare gives the government the power to tell your insurance company what it will and will not cover.  Obamacare means that women won't be making their own health-care decisions as Mr. Obama promised because medical boards will be doing that for them.

The money Obamacare takes from us is not fees as he and his administration argued so vehemently.  The money Obamacare takes is a tax on the un-health-insured combined with a gargantuan pile of regulations dumped atop businesses and insurance companies which will make it ever more difficult for health insurance to be offered and purchased.  Looked at in this way, yes, that is constitutional: there's nothing new about business-destroying regulations nor about unreasonable taxes.  Whether or not Obamacare is a good idea is, quite properly, not the concern of the Court.

Don't Be Lazy

As conservatives, we believe in Constitutional originalism - that is, we ought to follow the original intent of the Constitution as written by the Founders and agreed upon by the American people at that time, plus the original intents of the various amendments tacked on over the years.  It's quite clear that the Constitution never intended to grant legislative power to the Supreme Court; no, that was for the Congress.  The Court can only interpret the law, and if necessary, declare that a given law is in conflict with the higher law of the Constitution and is thus invalid.  It's not supposed to propose improvements to the law, or decide whether the law is smart.

What's more, if we are to be a representative democracy, isn't that the way it's supposed to be?  What could possibly be more elitist than having our laws written or unwritten by nine unelected judges with life tenure?  There are good reasons why Supreme Court justices are appointed for life, but their powers should be and are strictly circumscribed.

No, by relying on our black-robed allies to pull America's biscuits out of the fire, we are abdicating our responsibility as Americans and as voters not to put stupid laws in place at all.

The right question is not, how could Chief Justice John Roberts have betrayed us thus?  The right question is instead, how on earth could America have elected hundreds of anti-American Senators and Congressmen and one anti-American President who could ever contemplate the massive intrusion on liberty that is Obamacare?  How could conservatives have so signally failed in the marketplace of ideas and in the political arena?

Remember: Hitler and the Nazis won elections fair and square.  The German legislature passed laws granting all power to the Fuhrer.  This was all done in perfect legal form that no judge or court would find fault with, and all perfectly "democratic" given that they were, after all, elected according to the rules in place at the time.  Did that make Nazi tyranny and dictatorship right?  Of course not.

What it did, was place the blame for Nazi tyranny and dictatorship on the German people who voted them into office in the first place.  Barack Obama is no Adolf Hitler and the Congressional Democrats are no Nazis, but Obamacare will lead to the deaths of our elders just as surely as Hitler's rise led to the death of all sorts of people.

As we've said before, Obamacare must be destroyed.  Chief Justice Roberts has performed a very American service by reminding us that we voters will have to do it:

"It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices."

   Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.,  New York Times quote of the day, June 29, 2012

Do Americans care enough to tell the government to back off?   Does this intrusive takeover of our health system bother us?  If so, that needs to be shown at the polls as soon as possible and as vehemently as possible.

And if not, well, we can still complain, but not on democratic grounds or on the basis of a misinterpreted popular will.  American voters will have freely chosen statist socialism and the Democrats will only be reflecting the will of the people as they turn America into Europe.

In that case, it'll be time to recognize that conservatism and traditional Americanism has lost once and for all and it's time to look elsewhere for succor.  Truly, 2012 is a turning-point election.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other Scragged.com articles by Petrarch or other articles on Partisanship.
Reader Comments

One thing American conservatives must remember is that conservatism was not born in America and, if the Democrats have their way, neither will it perish with American conservatism.

There comes a time when the only cure to grass-roots corruption is a civil war, and -speaking as one who has lived through a vicious civil war- the cure is far worse than the illness. At that time men and women of principles must sadly go where their convictions take them. That time has perhaps not yet come in America (although taxpayer-funded abortion was arguably the Rubicon), but if it comes then the stark choices will lead either to diaspora or to bloodshed. And of the two bloodshed is infinitely worse. Better to grieve in exile, hoping and praying for a day when justice will rise again, than to spill your brother's blood.

June 29, 2012 2:45 PM

Yes, but, we're kind of out of New Worlds to conquer. There isn't anyplace left for conservatives to decamp to, everywhere else is more statist, more socialist, more centralized.

You're right about civil wars being worse than the disease, though. I can't think of one that turned out the way the instigators intended, though some eventually had helpful side-effects.

June 29, 2012 2:51 PM

Justice Roberts' comment that it is not the court's job to protect the public from political consequences would be true, if and *only* if the three branches of the federal government confined themselves to affairs in which the Constitution authorizes them to interfere. Then, we'd be choosing between this party or that's idea of foreign policy and diplomacy and other such things.

Given that no one in any branch of the federal government seriously believes there is anything they shouldn't be doing or interfering with, it most certainly IS the court's job to protect the public and the Constitution from assaults of this kind.

Thus, as far as I'm concerned, this decision makes Roberts a coward of the worst kind, one of five (arguably six) who clearly has no idea what he's there for.

The Constitution is designed to thwart radical public will. It not designed to give the people what they want - it exists to safeguard their freedom in order that they can go and get it themselves. Disregarding the Constitution - by voters and officials - gets you what we have become: a country that is manifestly no longer free.

June 29, 2012 4:34 PM

As disappointed as I was when the ruling came out I will default to my statement that I made in November 2008, that obama being elected was the best thing possible for the conservative movement. Now it seems that Justice Roberts has pushed that thought to hyper-steroidial limits. When this November rolls around perhaps Americans will finanlly wake up. I however can now see that hope will change. It will be interesting.

June 30, 2012 2:48 AM

"As conservatives, we believe in Constitutional originalism - that is, we ought to follow the original intent of the Constitution as written by the Founders and agreed upon by the American people at that time, plus the original intents of the various amendments tacked on over the years."

I wonder if your statement is correct: "You will never hear me refer to original intent, because as I say I am first of all a textualist, and secondly an originalist. If you are a textualist, you don't care about the intent, and I don't care if the framers of the Constitution had some secret meaning in mind when they adopted its words." Scalia, A. A Theory of Constitution Interpretation, 1996.

Would you not agree that Justice Scalia is a conservative?

But even if you believe as he does "The theory of originalism treats a constitution like a statute, and gives it the meaning that its words were understood to bear at the time they were promulgated[,]" as today different people understood the meaning of the statutes differently even at the time of the Founding Fathers. And sometimes, both in allowing for flexibility and to paer over differences they resorted into what then Justice Rehnquist called "Majestic Generalities".

June 30, 2012 1:25 PM

You're both right, but it's not overly relevant to today.

There is no question that different Founders had somewhat different interpretations of exactly what the Constitution meant. They were separate human beings, after all. We do need to pay close attention to the text; we also should carefully read the writings of the Founders, particularly the Federalist Papers, and compare Founder with Founder as we debate these issues.

However, the fact that the Founders themselves had different interpretations does not mean that they supported ALL conceivable interpretations. There is not one single Founder who ever in their wildest dreams would have supposed that the Constitution granted a right to abortion; the opposite would be closer to the case, if it had even occurred to them to think about the issue. Equally, none of them would have considered it to hold any rights regarding homosexuality, or to grant the Federal government power to require everyone to buy health insurance.

Those views simply weren't found within the range of the opinions of the Founders, thus cannot possibly be justified on originalist or textual grounds. They can only be "justified" if you believe in a living Constitution that means whatever you want it to mean at the moment - which has the same effect as if we didn't have a Constitution at all.

July 1, 2012 7:59 AM
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