Change You Can Believe In!

“As president, Mitt will nominate judges in the mold of Chief Justice Roberts …” –

Mind you, I don’t regard the Obamacare decision as the apocalyptic event died-in-the-wool Obama haters do. I just think this quote is hilarious. I hope that once the hysteria has died down and Talk Radio imbibing conservatives have changed their underwear, drunk some of Jeeves’ tissue restorer and cooled down, they will consider the possibility that the reality is not that Roberts went from being the Paladin of Judicial Righteousness to Judas Iscariot but that he remains what he was all along, a very bright conservative justice.

Meanwhile, the central issue (as far as I am concerned) remains to be tested: Catholic conscience and the damnable HHS mandate.

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  • LV

    This is an uncomfortable question to ask at the moment, but…

    Now that the HHS mandate, along with the individual mandate, has been ruled a tax, doesn’t that mean that the Anti-Injunction Act comes into play?

    Taxes can’t be challenged until after they’ve been assessed, so that would mean that until the HHS mandate is implemented, the parties in the lawsuit against the HHS mandate have no standing, and the suit would be thrown out of court.

    Can someone please tell me that I’m wrong on this?

    • Bobby

      Non-lawyers look away:

      The very first portion of the Court’s opinion addresses this, and holds that the mandate is not a “tax” for purposes of the Anti-Injunction Act because the statute refers to a “penalty” instead of a tax. But the mandate was upheld as a “tax” as an exercise of Congress’ power to tax. The opinion says “It is up to Congress whether to apply the Anti-Injunction Act to any particular statute, so it makes sense to be guided by Congress’s choice of label on that question. That choice does not, however, control whether an exaction is within Congress’s constitutional power to tax.” I don’t buy it, but there it is.

  • The Deuce

    I don’t think Roberts’ ruling can be squared with the notion that he’s a conservative justice. He could’ve “gutted” the Commerce Clause just as easily by voting in the other direction, and without turning the Taxing And Spending Clause into an unlimited power that can even overcome Constitutional protections.

    The takeaway of the case is that even if it’s un-Constitutional for the government to force you to do something directly (as Roberts Court found it was un-Constitutional for the government to force you to buy health insurance), it may still “tax” you an arbitrary amount for not doing it. So, for instance, if the government wants to force the Catholic Church to sell condoms, they can’t pass a law doing that directly, but they could pass a “tax” that taxed anyone who doesn’t sell condoms $5 million, then send priests to jail for not paying their “tax”. Rinse repeat for everything else in the Bill Of Rights. The government doesn’t even have to call it a tax – in fact it can adamantly insist that it isn’t a tax in the law itself – and the Court can change it into a tax retroactively.

    Take note, BTW: If the Obamacare mandate is a tax, it’s still un-Constitutional and should have been struck down anyway, because it originated in the Senate, and the Constitution says that tax bills must originate in the House. So if he really thought it was a tax, Roberts should’ve struck the law down on those grounds. This just illustrates further how little Constitutional law was a consideration here, and how far the Supremes were stretching for a rationalization to make Obamacare legal.

    Again, I simply don’t see how the reality of the situation can be squared with the idea that Roberts is a judicial conservative.

    • Deuce – I think it’s pretty evident that the Constitution is vastly ignored by 99.999999999999999999999999999999999999999% of people inside the beltway.

    • ivan_the_mad

      “it may still “tax” you an arbitrary amount for not doing it”. Not true. This was also mentioned in the syllabus of the opinion.

    • sjay

      Here’s how the “origination in the House” was handled, according to Wickipedia:
      The Senate failed to take up debate on the House bill and instead took up H.R. 3590, a bill regarding housing tax breaks for service members. As the United States Constitution requires all revenue-related bills to originate in the House, the Senate took up this bill since it was first passed by the House as a revenue-related modification to the Internal Revenue Code. The bill was then used as the Senate’s vehicle for their health care reform proposal, completely revising the content of the bill. The bill as amended incorporated elements of earlier proposals that had been reported favorably by the Senate Health and Finance committees.

  • Mark, you say, “Meanwhile, the central issue (as far as I am concerned) remains to be tested: Catholic conscience and the damnable HHS mandate.”

    And I say, “AMEN!!!!”
    I also say, as you have said, “Resist the Tyrant!”

    • The Deuce

      It is the central immediate issue, but I think we’re fooling ourselves if we think getting rid of the HHS mandate will be the end of the threat. Obamacare gives government bureaucracies so much power carte blanche that they’ll undoubtedly be able to find an endless array of ways in it to abuse and coerce Catholics and Christians more generally, and the bishops will find themselves constantly trying to defend themselves from death by 1,000 paper cuts until they get worn down. The HHS mandate is just the first shot fired. Even if it’s successfully dodged, you won’t be safe as long as you’re cornered in the alleyway with a fully armed firing squad with their guns trained on you.

      • If that’s to be, it’s to be.

        I understand this: may exempt people from OCare….not entirely sure. I read on another blog that it was, but I haven’t seen on the site that it is. I haven’t dug down deep into it yet although I did sign up for more info.

        • Marion (Mael Muire)

          “Solidarity Health Share” sounds like a great idea . . . but who are these guys? I mean, will they be around in 30, 60, 90 days? In five years? Can they be depended on to pay out? If my insurance company doesn’t pay for my care, I can complain to the Insurance Commissioner for my state . . . What recourse do I have with “Solidarity Health Share”? I don’t wish to sound adversarial, but the website is not very forthcoming about (a) who they are, (b) where they’re located, (c) how long they’ve been in business, (d) who’s backing them, etc., . . .

          • Apparently it’s a Catholic answer to the Protestant style MediShare, which has been around for a while.

            So far as I can tell it’s organising and is not asking for money now until they are ready. But it’s not a set amount. Look at the website.

            • Marion (Mael Muire)

              “Look at the website. “

              Been there. Done that. Questions remain unanswered. Will follow with interest. Only wish they shared a little more about who they are. That’s kind of basic for an undertaking such as this. Transparency. You’d think if they knew the first thing about what they were doing, they would know that. But, oh well. We shall see.

              • “Will follow with interest. Only wish they shared a little more about who they are. ”

                me too.

        • Ted Seeber

          I’ve signed up for their newsletter. That’s the most you can do right now. I’m going to talk to my father about it and if we both like the scheme, I’m going to see about the Fr. Brauer and John Clare Councils of the Knights of Columbus sponsoring a resolution in Oregon to have our Insurance Agents partner with them.

      • “you won’t be safe as long as you’re cornered in the alleyway with a fully armed firing squad with their guns trained on you.”

        In the words of Bootstraps Bill Turner to his son William on the Flying Dutchman (Pirates 2), “what more can they do to me?”

        • Or paraphrasing our Lord, “be not afraid of those who kill the body, but of Him who can kill the soul”….

          • The Deuce

            Indeed. And it’s going to become increasingly important to remember that.

  • The Deuce

    Okay, there is one major, genuine silver lining to this whole thing that I was just informed of. Since Obamacare has been transmuted into a tax bill, it can now be overturned (HHS mandate and all) as a tax bill. Since tax bills cannot be filibustered, the bill to repeal it will require only a bare 51-vote majority in the Senate to pass now, which is very realistic, rather than a 60-vote supermajority. And of course a President who will sign the bill to overturn it.

    *Sigh* And I was going to try and be all independent and high-minded by sticking it to the GOP establishment and not voting for Romney this time around. Looks like it’s going to be another nose-holding, straight-Republican ticket for me.

    • I don’t believe that when it comes down to it the Republicans will repeal Obamacare. They may pass a bill called “Repeal of Obamacare,” though more likely they’ll pretend to try and fail. But no congress is going to surrender any power, nor resolve any issue that can be used to manipulate voters. The promise to repeal Obamacare will be Lucy’s football for as long as conservatives will run at it.

      The central issue isn’t the HHS mandate, it’s the unlimited federal power that makes that damnable mandate possible. Some who correctly oppose the contraceptive/abortifacient mandate support putting the feds in charge of everyone’s healthcare in some other way. Having spent eighty years giving the federal government more power, they should accept some blame when the federal government uses that power against them, and they should learn from their mistake. To say the constitution is a living breathing document but the HHS mandate is heinous tyrannical imposition, is to say squares are good unless they have four sides.

      • The Deuce

        Marcel, agreed about the HHS mandate. See my comments above Confederate Papist. You may be right about the Republicans backing off when given the chance. I certainly can’t say for sure they wouldn’t, given their past betrayals. But, I do think repeal is a realistic outcome now, where before it wasn’t.

      • Bobby

        Exactly. The federal government does not give up power once it grabs it. I don’t care which party is in charge. Remember how the Republicans in the 90s wanted to eliminate the Department of Education? I don’t recall that happening once GWB came in and they had both houses of Congress and the White House.

  • The Deuce

    BTW, I like this analysis by Jonah Goldberg:

    Even if Roberts had some super-secret genius “conservative” master plan that we mere mortals cannot fathom, the fact is that he utterly tortured logic, truth, and the English language to get the outcome he wanted, and there is nothing “conservative” about sophistry, deceit, and post-modernist interpretation of literature.

  • Andy

    I may be naive or whatever, but the ruling from the Supreme Court is not the end of the universe, world or our country. The Supreme Court for me did its damage with the Citizens United Ruling. THis decision merely reinforces the concept that Congress could do what it did. It passed a law through its legislative channels – a good law, perhaps not, though there are parts of it that are very good.
    ACA represents something that Mr. Shea has been harping on for many a month – the worship of mammon. ACA was put together by a committee (its first problem) made up of insurance lobbyists, medical groups, seniors groups, uninsured advocacy groups – a long list – all with one thing in common – they could offer lots of money. If there was no money in it for politicians then they would not act. The opposition has its paymasters as – the Chamber of Commerce springs to mind. Until we remove the worship of mammon from politics and the country; until we recognize that businessmen are not the answer to all possible problems and until we realize that it we who own the country we will have more ACA, my personal favorite The Patriot Act, or my wife’s love No CHild Left Behind (sometimes known as the Keep Pearson Publishing in Business Act). The list is endless. To quote from “All the President’s Men” — “follow the money” and that will show you who makes the decisions.

  • Joe

    Yes! Your blog was worthwhile today just for the Wodehouse reference!

    P.S. I agree about the central issue being the HHS mandating citizens to pay for abortion, contraception, and sterilization. The moral problem there totally occludes any prudential discourse about the role and responsibility of government. We can’t talk meaningfully about policy if we don’t agree on the dogmatic level (what are persons, what is the source of the good).

  • Zippy

    Roberts did pro bono work for the homosexual lobby and other liberal causes before Dubya nominated him. In no sense is he now or has he ever been a conservative jurist.

    And Obamacare is very much a moral and political disaster. It is what gave us the HHS mandate, and will give us more and more moral atrocities like it over time. The more I learn about the health care system from personal experience, the more fully convinced of this I become.

    • ivan_the_mad

      quod gratis asseritur gratis negatur

    • Andy

      Just because he did some pro bon work for gay folks and other liberal causes doesn’t mean he isn;t conservative. The law is neither conservative nor liberal, the law represents a way to order society. I may disagree with a group – a current example the KKK wants to sponsor and clean a piece of roadway. I thin that what the KKK stands for is an abomination, however, they have right to those beliefs which as long as they are not violent I will support and sure as hell they can clear a piece of roadway. Does this make me a member of the KKK – no, it makes me an American. The same can be said for Mr. Roberts..
      As far a ACA being a moral and political disaster. The church hasn’t said it is a moral disaster, the church would like changes, but has not said it ai a moral disaster. Politically, I guess it depends on who you support – me I support neither party because I don’t think they are different – ACA is modeled after Mass. and Romney.