Feeling Optimistic on the Roberts Ruling on Obamacare

Well! That was an invigorating and enjoyable 24-hour news cycle, wasn’t it? The hysterics; the swearing and f’bombing; the renewed exposure of “real media” as ranting and incompetent drama queens; Nancy Pelosi’s predictable incoherence; the wholesale giving over of Americans to their emotions! “We won!”, “We lost”; “America is over!” “America is getting a second chance!”; “It’s a tax!”, “It’s a penalty!”; “She’s my daughter and my sister!”

Oops. That’s Chinatown, Jake.

Yesterday many in the comboxes, on the internets and within the talking head culture went on a wholesale spree of self-indulgent, often rambling catharsis, generally informed by what feeling has held them most enthralled through months of bowel-clutching anticipation of a ruling on Obamacare. While some on the right may be feeling a bit wrist-slitty, today, I’m sensing a dawning of hung-over awareness; it’s hitting folks on both the left and the right like a bright sliver of light and it’s bringing either the wincing pain of doubt or the warmth of new life — and not all of your wincing is on the right, and not all of your spreading defrost is on the left.

I’ll get to linking to reactions in a second, but I just wanted to share with you an email I received from a female reader who took issue with my thoughts:

Anchoress, when did you become dead inside? How can you act like this is not a big deal? Our country is being destroyed from the inside [insert familiar rhetoric] and you used to understand that this is a coup.

I take mild exception to that “dead inside” thing. Wounded but carrying-on, I am, like the rest of us. I will admit though, that seven years online has sapped my patience for hysterics and I confessed weeks ago that I am bored beyond measure with the predictability of reactions to almost any story that comes down the pike. I’ve been asking people to “say something new”.

Yesterday, Chief Justice Roberts said something new. Whether he decided to say it early or late in the deliberations and writings is certainly an interesting question; if his mind and reasoning changed mid-stream, then it would be good to know what motivated him.

Some are suggesting that the Chicago-style bullying from our Chicago-style president may have influenced Roberts. I hope not; I hope Roberts simply understood that a 5-4 majority striking down Obamacare would further tear asunder our stricken, half-mad-with-sepsis nation, and he therefore found a third way — one that, rather than further-deepening our wounds may yet turn out to be a stinging douse of alcohol and a subtle job of stitchery, from which our gashes may yet heal.

Here is the new thing that John Roberts said:
“It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.”

Breathe deep, folks. That’s fresh air, you’re sniffing. And it might strengthen us.

John Roberts just told America to grow up, pull up the big-boy and big-girl pants and stop looking for someone else to fix everything for them. Caterwauling “conservatives” should take a breath and think about that a little, because it is precisely what conservatives keep saying they want — less top-down, government-and-courts-driven action.

The “liberal” folks who endorse an infantilized nation under it’s “parental” control, cannot like it.

Roberts just did the nation a huge and brilliant favor by reining in how the increasingly feckless government — whom we have allowed to become feckless — may interpret and abuse the commerce clause. He has also literally handed back to the citizenry an unpopular piece of legislation that had been rammed into law against the wishes of the majority. Now, the unhappy citizenry can either fix this at the polls in just a few short months, or forever live with it.

I like the notion that this decision now rests with the people, where it should have always rested, and not with the Executive Branch or the Courts.

I like the idea of reacquainting Americans with the notion that policy and process should begin and end with them, through their informed vote and their insistence upon actual representative representation by those selected-and-elected few in DC.

I am strongly of the opinion that we Americans need to stop being so comfortable with allowing our laws to be delivered or dissolved at the bang of a gavel. I don’t think that’s good for any society. It did not serve us well with Roe v Wade, and it would not have served us well, yesterday.

We need to stop looking at the government as the dictators of our future and the dispenser of our freedoms. The people in Washington serve by our leave; we don’t get to live by theirs.

Certainly there are risks inherent in yesterday’s ruling — too many people are content to read a headline, or hear “it’s constitutional” and shrug a matter off as finished. Yes, their complaisance is a problem, and always will be, so just factor it in.

We cannot know how things will play out with the public between now and November. The press will call this “a victory” for Obama; they will tell us that “Obamacare is constitutional — period; end of story” and forget all the tax talk. They will spend the next 5 months reselling people on this legislation — and yes, some people will buy it. Maybe many will. That’s part of the process. Factor it in.

Both the Democrats and the GOP know they can screw things up, and badly, between now and November, as they re-engage. But at least we’re battling in fresher air.

For those of us who believe that healthcare issues like coverage for the unemployed or for those with pre-existing conditions did not necessitate a unilateral and sweeping one-party powergrab that would affect every facet of our lives, there is hope. It is up to Romney and the GOP to not screw it up, now.

Roberts just gave them the ball and whispered to America, “if you want the touchdown you only have one way to go.”

Whether Americans will figure that out, particularly in the face of breathless rhetoric coming at them from all sides, is anyone’s guess. But the ball always did belong to us.

Am I among the self-deluded?. Perhaps. I’ve never said I can’t be wrong. In fact, I’m often wrong.

But I still take the longview; I believe that all of our frantic todays have surprising, and often positive, effects on our tomorrows, in ways we cannot dream, while we’re in the whirlwind. God still has his hand in each day.

Which reminds me: how will all of this play with the HHS lawsuits moving through the courts, and its considerations within the law? Some are hopeful. Ultimately, it depends on whether the law still exists in January.

Then again, perhaps Obama will just listen to his wife
on that issue?

Mark Shea has more thoughts on that.

From Volokh:

If I were a Republican Congressman I’d schedule a new vote in the House on the individual mandate, but replace the “penalty language” with language specifically acknowledging that the “penalty” is actually a tax. If the Democrats vote “aye,” they’ve acknowledged breaking the Obama pledge not to raise taxes on the middle class. If the Democrats–specifically those who already voted for the mandate–vote “nay”, what becomes of the tax argument in future litigation?

There’s more — go read.

Meanwhile, Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit has a morsel of note-perfect snark

Here’s a roundup of reactions, most of which I admit I have not read fully, some barely at all:

Biggest Winners: The Founders

Ross Douthat

TaxProf Blog: Looking at the ObamaTax

Reason: Random Reflections

Tapscott: Roberts is not the goat

Krauthammer: Why Roberts did it

Ed Morrissey: My blogfather is not agreeing with Krauthammer, nor I guess me, too! :-) He has a modest proposal

Ed Gillespie also unhappy

George Will


Mickey Kaus

, having a chance to ponder it sees it too:

Roberts wrote the decision at the end of a 90 year continuum holding that Government fixes problems and the Supreme Court fixes Government. This approach makes “We, the people” unnecessary. Rather than elections being the corrective, the Court is the corrective — except that the Court’s make-up is controlled by the Government. (Remember the Bork debacle?)

Roberts refused to play this game. He slapped back the Democrats’ hands when it came to the Commerce Clause, telling them that the federal government cannot legislate inactivity. And he held — quite correctly — that if there’s any possible way for the Court to salvage a law, it must do so. His salvaging was to say that, this particular law, written in this particular way, with these particular controls over the people, can be salvaged by calling it a tax. It’s an ugly decision, but probably a correct one. And then he tossed the whole thing back to the American people.

The system can work if we want it to.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • kevin

    Bowel-clutching is new, I’ll say that. A little harsh maybe.

    I agree with you on America-idolatry (can’t remember your word for this), but not on Roberts giving us a breath of “fresh air” here. It’s not his job to give the American people a condescending lecture in civics when he himself can’t even get it straight whether ACA is or is not a tax. He said it wasn’t a tax for the purposes of the anti-injunction act, but then says – - against what the government itself argued – - that it is a tax for the purposes of the taxing power. His opinion is simply incoherent and most lawyers know it. Even the ones who like Obama and wanted this passed know it deep down.

  • http://egregioustwaddle.blogspot.com/ Joanne K McPortland

    I will repeat this just one more time. Justice Roberts did not say the mandate is a tax. He said that the argument made by the Government in its separate justification—that the penalty for not fulfilling the mandate, while not a tax, worked in such a similar fashion to a tax that the whole mandate could be argued to fall within Congress’s power to tax and spend—was convincing enough, given the presumption that laws enacted by Congress are constitutional, to stand up to the challenge when the Commerce Clause argument did not. That’s a far cry from legislating from the bench, or adding something new, or selling out, or LOSING HIS MIND AND DESTROYING AMERICA!!!! And it’s not even a surprise to people who listened to the oral arguments, and now realize that there was a reason Justice Roberts was the only one awake during the tax-and-spend justification argument, asking canny questions and making notes. Of course, if you only listen to the soundbites this will be either the apotheosis of Obama or the end of the world.

    It’s neither your daughter nor your sister. It’s just one more day in Chinatown, Jake.

  • Coldstream

    Roberts failed utterly here. Claiming it’s “not my job” is a cop-out. Roberts tortured the words of the law itself, somehow discovering that a fine for inaction is now somehow a “tax”, despite Congress and the President never claiming it was (and outright arguing against it in many cases).

    After imagining a law different than the one that was passed and ruling it its defense, he now says he can’t “save us from our political choices”? Pure incoherence.

    He’s “handing us the football” but at any moment he can reread the rules to say the government actually meant we’re playing tennis.

    And, does anyone really think this new “limit” on the Commerce Clause that Roberts came up with will have any practical meaning on the expansion of government? It rolls back nothing that currently exists.

    Plus, consider that 4 liberal justices thought Obamacare was legal per the Commerce Clause. If Obama appoints one more justice to replace Scalia or Kennedy etc…do you really think a liberal majority will respect whatever nebulous precedent this decision established in regards to the Commerce Clause?

  • http://www.jaskology.com Tim J.

    I think you’re overly optimistic when you say the court is pointing us back towards democracy. Do you really believe that when gay marriage comes before them, or abortion comes back before them, they will say “figure it out in congress”?

    It seems far more likely to me that the takeaway is “liberal ideas will get the rubber stamp, conservative ones will get struck down.”

  • gracepmc

    Justice Roberts’ job was to judge whether the ACA, as written with a mandate enforceable under the commerce clause was constitutional. It was not. So Justice Roberts deemed the mandate a tax and declared the ACA constitutional. Easy Peasy. Justice Roberts was not wearing his big boy pants.

  • http://jscafenette.com Manny

    I feel the complete opposite. This has thrown a life line to the Obama campaign. If it had gone down like it should have, Obama’s base would have been demoralized and he would have appeared as the incompetant that he is. Now his troops have something to crow about and admire him for. Those that would have voted against Obama were already committed. You guys that think this is guarenteed to go down the drain are fooling yourselves.

    Bottom line: Roberts twisted the consitiution into a pretzle. It shows that there truly isn’t any freedom. It’s all language that is twisted to pacify the current masses. Roberts became Orwell, or the Big Brother in Orwell’s work. He failed, and failed miserbly. The difference that it’s a tax and not a mandate is all ludicrous. Today as two days ago, a person is required to buy something against his wishes. The Constitution is a joke. freedom is a cynical exercise.

    ["a person is still required to buy something against his wishes" But now, between the congress being able to try to repeal the "tax" without the threat of filibuster, and the ELECTIONS in November, there is a chance for the things to work as they should have, rather than by political subterfuge or the bang of a gavel. If you can't see that this is a good thing, I can't help you! :-) -admin]

  • Peggy M

    I am seeing and hearing some comments to the effect that Roberts’ comments on the Commerce Clause were non-binding dicta, i.e., that they do not, in fact, limit government expansion in that area in future cases.

    I have no idea if that is true, but we are not necessarily out of the woods.

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  • http://rosarynovice.stblogs.com/ Augustine

    So now a judge who usurps the will of our representatives who never meant Obamacare to be a tax and would have violated its own procedures to create said tax is now a champion of restrained power by exercising unrestrained power?

    Why all this lionizing Roberts as wise Catholic sphinx when he’s just proved that he’s just a crypto-constitutionalist?

  • http://datechguyblog.com datechguy

    To the person asking when the Anchoress became dead inside it’s exactly the opposite, she knows that no matter what happens in government where the real battle is.

    “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away”

    As long as she knows that all the rest is just details.

    [Thanks, Peter. Appreciate that. -admin]

  • Tim in Cleveland

    The level of hysteria from the right over this opinion is starting to reach the levels of hysteria from the left before this decision.

    Despite the controversy over the ACA itself, National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius is really nothing more than a boring Commerce Clause and Taxing Power decision. People should read the opinion (193 pages!)… it will bore the outrage out of them.

  • Brian English

    “Plus, consider that 4 liberal justices thought Obamacare was legal per the Commerce Clause. If Obama appoints one more justice to replace Scalia or Kennedy etc…do you really think a liberal majority will respect whatever nebulous precedent this decision established in regards to the Commerce Clause?”

    Reason 1,000,000 for making sure Obama doesn’t get to appoint another Supreme Court justice.

    “Justice Roberts’ job was to judge whether the ACA, as written with a mandate enforceable under the commerce clause was constitutional. It was not. So Justice Roberts deemed the mandate a tax and declared the ACA constitutional.”

    Roberts did not pull the tax concept out of thin air. The government did argue that the mandate was sustainable as a tax. It was their third argument, but sometimes what you consider your weakest argument wins the case for you.

    “I am seeing and hearing some comments to the effect that Roberts’ comments on the Commerce Clause were non-binding dicta, i.e., that they do not, in fact, limit government expansion in that area in future cases. ”

    Not true. Five members of the Court held that the mandate was unconstitutional as an exercise of the Commerce Clause power. However, if Obama gets to replace one of those five, we have a possible problem.

  • Debbie

    It amazes me that not one other member of ANY political party voted for Obamacare. Anytime we let one political party control the House, Senate and the Oval Office we are obfuscating the system of checks and balances. We have exactly what was voted for by the US citizenry in 2008 and, I know I am not alone in thinking this, that it should never happen again with ANY party.

  • Fiestamom

    I fail to see how a 5-4 decision one way would tear the nation asunder, yet 5-4 the other way doesn’t. The media that I loathe set it up this way, so sick of them. No mention from the media that 4 liberal justices were a lock. The only justices who may have changed their mind were from the more conservative side.

    I was hoping that the Supreme Court would have judged this on the way the law was written, the way it was argued in March, and what our Constitution says. I wish Roberts hadn’t tried to save the Supreme Court, just ruled on the Constitutionality. But it only matters when libs don’t get their way.

    Yes, I admit I am bitter, I am trying, but failing to trust in Jesus and not in princes of this world. Guess I better go pray, for myself and my country.

  • SKay

    At the moment I do not think it is a breath of fresh air.
    The more I hear the people in the media talk about how clever this was the less I believe it.
    The Soros/Obama grab for power has succeeded. Even they probably can’t believe their luck. Now all they have to do is figure out how to use the Chicago way and all the Soros funded groups to get enough votes to stay in office and finish the march toward socialism-or worse.
    There are 21 or 22 new taxes in this bill. With this new decision how many more will they come up with. It is already the largest tax hike in the history of this country.
    It makes sense that the Catholic Church in the US is one of their targets. Abortion and euthenasia are important components of their plan.
    I hope we will all remember in November.

  • kevin

    The government argued both ways on the tax issue as I recall, largely at the prompting of Justice Sotomayor or Kagan. And Verilli had an impossible time with it, flubbing it badly. It was a thankless task to speak out of both sides of his mouth of course. More importantly, Congress itself said it was not a tax, i.e., the law at it was written. That it was the Court was to pass on. By contorting himself into a pretzel, as Manny says, Roberts engaged in the worst kind of judicial activism, as he was apparently driven to regard the Court’s reputation as the supreme good to uphold, not the Constitution. Regardless, his argument that it’s a tax and not a tax remains insupportable as Scalia trenchantly noted:

    “We never have classified as a tax an exaction imposed for violation of the law, and so too, we never have classified as a tax an exaction described in the legislation itself as a penalty. To be sure, we have sometimes treated as a tax a statutory exaction (imposed for something other than a violation of law) which bore an agnostic label that does not entail the significant constitutional consequences of a penalty — such as “license” (License Tax Cases, 5 Wall. 462 (1867)) or “surcharge” (New York v. United States, supra.). But we have never — never — treated as a tax an exaction which faces up to the critical difference between a tax and a penalty, and explicitly denominates the exaction a “penalty.” Eighteen times in §5000A itself and elsewhere throughout the Act, Congress called the exaction in§5000A(b) a “penalty.””

  • enness

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

    But maybe it *is* their job to protect me from other people’s political choices. I didn’t vote for Obama.

  • http://leelusplace.blogspot.com leelu


    Did yo actually READ Anchoress’ post. I didn’t vote for him, either, and yet, I now realize that its NOT up to SCOTUS to make it better for me, nor should they! Our government is “…of the people, by the people, and for the people…”. In tech terms means that its a bottom-up structure, NOT a top-down one.

    So stop whining, get off you ass and vote this time, too. And get everyone out there whom you know to go vote with you. Drive them to the polls! And they should probably vote for Romney while there at it. And for every Republican congresscritter on the ballot.

    It’s the only way to nuke ‘em from orbit. Which as I’m sure you know, is the only way to be sure!

  • Brian English

    “By contorting himself into a pretzel, as Manny says, Roberts engaged in the worst kind of judicial activism, as he was apparently driven to regard the Court’s reputation as the supreme good to uphold, not the Constitution.”

    Today is the 20th anniversary of Planned Parenthood v. Casey. You want to see judicial activism, go look at that opinion. What Roberts did was engage in judicial restraint (I think to an excessive degree), so accusing him of dealing in judicial activism could not be more wrong.

  • http://www.truthandcharity.net Micah Murphy

    “Here is the new thing that John Roberts said:
    ‘It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.’”

    It is, however, the job of the court system to protect the innocent whose rights are being violated, especially the innocent minority being oppressed by the majority. How much more, then, the innocent majority whose representatives, elected in good faith, later changed course and betrayed them? Consider Stupak and company. Without them, this whole thing would not have occurred, and surely their pro-life constituencies did not elect them to do that! When those same constituents, along with a majority of states and many independent companies and citizens who never voted for that course of action and yet are suffering from it, press for vindication against their oppressors in court, it is patently wrong to say that it is not the job of the court to correct the mistakes that had been made. Anyone who thinks otherwise misses the entire point of the judicial system. If the oppressed ought to have no recourse for justice under the law except to vote for different representation next time, then we might as well just abandon the judiciary all together!

  • http://www.patheos.com Amy

    It really is not complicated if you look at what is happening from a biblical perspective.
    The Isrealites were God’s chosen people. They whined and complained wanting to have a king. So, God said, “FINE.” Over the centuries, they found themselves in captivity, slain, slaves, forgoing the commandments of God and worshiping false idols, etc. If you look at the world around you, right around your neighborhood, town, city, and most importantly, your family, do you see any resemblance of old testament Isrealites looking back at you? God gave us free will and we have failed to honor and love God with our whole hearts and minds. We have many idols; we have many Gods. We have let ourselves become corrupted and we are slaves already to our attachments. We can choose to become slaves to a corrupt government by doing absolutely nothing and continue to live our lives without any correction. Yes, we are very much like the Isrealites of the Old Testament, and God still loves us…
    - one more thought – None of this happened overnight or when Obama took office….

  • Mr. Patton

    There seems to be a new “medical condition” that allows some to say the opposite of what they mean…:)

  • Stephen

    The longer tea is boiled, the stronger it gets, I hear. If POTUS thinks this is the end of the fight concerning a socialist national one-payer health care system (which is exactly what he said he was going for during his first campaign when speaking with some union bosses) then he is in for a surprise. This is one of those times when the Lord can make all things turn out for good for His children. My health insurance premium has already doubled over the past twelve months, and ObamaCare is not yet in full force. There already are taxes in place for those making less than $250k because of ACA, in spite of his promise not to raise taxes on such citizens. And SCOTUS is not the final say — the Constitution allows Congress to vacate any SCOTUS decision. Since this is a tax, votes concerning it are fillibuster-proof. I don’t know the CJ’s reasons for opining as he did, but he has drawn the line in the sand, making it very clear that in the end this is up to the voters. For those who are tired of federal intrusion against our liberty and the socialism that comes with it, this election is pivotal. And this decision boils the tea ever more.

  • http://www.godandthemachine.com Thomas L. McDonald

    People whose work I like have totally come unglued over the last 24 hours. From Pat Archbold’s stream of “the end is nigh, man the barricades!” posts to Kathy Shaidle telling the uninsured to “die” or others suggested Roberts’ epilepsy meds were responsible, we really haven’t shown either the sack or simple humanity required to deal with this issue. They can rant and cry all they want, but the fact is this just handed Romney the election, and Roberts’ decision contained the seeds of Obamacare’s destruction without putting SCOTUS in the middle of a political firestorm. Conservatives don’t do our side any credit by acting like a bunch of whiny, nasty leftists. It wasn’t the decision we wanted, but it’s the decision we got, so people need to get a grip, cowboy up, stop whining, and deal.

  • Daisy

    Ma’am. I think you are pouring cheese sauce on a manure sandwich.

    [We Irish always take our manure plain. -admin]

  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    “But now, between the congress being able to try to repeal the “tax” without the threat of filibuster, and the ELECTIONS in November, there is a chance for the things to work as they should have, rather than by political subterfuge or the bang of a gavel. If you can’t see that this is a good thing, I can’t help you!”

    LOL, you’re reminding me of Pangloss.

    If this had “worked as it should have” it should have been struck down as unconstitutional. If something violates the constitution it should be struck down. Otherwise the door opens for popular abuse of freedoms. No matter how it’s spun, Obamacare took away a fundamental freedom, the freedom to decide not to purchase something. Roberts and the four Liberals upheld through twisted, Orwellian logic the reduction of human freedom.

    But even worse than that, in my opinion, the worse thing of all, the cynacism of twisting language to fit an outcome is corrosive to the body politic. I don’t know why anyone should have faith in the constitution any longer.

    Let me ask you this, should the HHS mandate be left up to the people for a vote or should it be struck down as a violation of the first amendment?

  • Molly

    Quote from the Jacobson article:
    “Today was a bitter loss because it was one we should have won.”
    I would say, and I think what Roberts is saying, is that it is one we should have prevented from HAVING to win. I for one know that I myself, although very opinionated, have not been outrightly politically active. And this will change that. Maybe that’s what he was trying to do.

  • Mike Blackadder

    Anchoress I appreciate your point of view. It is good to not focus only on the negative. There is something hopeful in Roberts’ act of not following the partisan lines and basing his decision on the premise of limiting the influence of the court in political matters.

    However, you mention a couple of things that actually really bother me about this case. The first thing that really bothers me is Roberts’ point that it isn’t their job to protect people from their political decisions. This just sounds too similar to Obama’s preemptive scolding of the supreme court (when he felt the court would strike down his law) where he suggested it would be radical for the court to strike down the law. It leaves me with the impression that political pressure from the President, left wing media, and kniwledge that the supreme court has no ability to defend themselves in a political arena, actually influenced Roberts to make this decision. This is a chilling thought. Also, everyone who makes this argument seems to forget that this was a question of whether the proposed legislation is even constitutional. It isn’t radical for the supreme court to uphold the constitution or to suggest that action taken by politicians can be unconstitutional, rather it is radical to carry out a political agenda that stops for nothing, including due consideration to people’s rights and the limited powers of government.

    I also disagree with the idea that Justice Roberts has pushed America towards handling this the right way by sending the decision to the ballots. I remain hopeful that Obama will be ousted in November, and perhaps this decision gives Romney extra ammunition (though I’m not sure about that), but even if Romney wins and Obsmacare is repealed, this would be the wrong way to repeal the law, because Obama’s law actually was unconstitutional.

    It isn’t good enough to say oh well no harm done this time, because now the court has set a precedent which says that the government can penalize people as a form of cohersion (without actual justification for this penalty) and then call it a tax. It is exactly for this reason that Roberts rationale and decision is a travesty. Who cares about the political BS about whether or not Obama is actually raising taxes. The violation of people rights and freedom from government cohersion was always the bigger issue and Roberts dropped the ball trying to appease his critics.

  • Mark D

    Declaring a fine a tax IS judicial activism. Be very careful when the Supreme Court changes language. Speech, by judicial decree, became expression which became nude dancing. Remember that one? Or more insidiously, unreasonable search and seizure, by judicial decree, became privacy which became abortion. Language matters, my friends.

  • http://blog.adw.org Msgr. Charles Pope

    I appreciate your Comments here Elizabeth. I think they are good medicine, especially the part about us growing up. Ultimately elections have consequences. This all happened on our watch and if Americans wish to resolve things the ballot box approaches at the end of four months time.

    [Well, thank you, Msgr. That means a lot coming from you. -admin]

  • Mike R

    Justice Roberts made sure that legal precident gives congress the power to tax any activity that an individual does not engage in. If you don’t burn incense to the fortune of Ceaser, you may be taxed in the future. Voters do have a responsibility but judges do as well to uphold the law and do their job. Never before have the American people been taxed for not engaging in an activity. A fraud has been perpetrated.

  • I M Forman

    I’m not crazy about the SCOTUS decision however it is what it is. The only thing left is to vote in November.

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  • Mike

    In my opinion, the four liberals who concurred with Roberts on the “taxing powers” argument only did so because that was their only avenue for obtaining their desired result. Ginsburg even spent most of her concurrence arguing why she thought the act was constitutional through the commerce and necessary and proper clauses. She found the Chief Justice’s argument “puzzling” even though she concurred with it. So, essentially, you had one of the nine justices conclude that the act was really a “tax” and that carries the day. That may be “something new,” or “fresh air,” but I would hardly conclude that it’s anything good. It’s not the Chief Justice’s job to manufacture a way to make and act constitutional. It’s congress’ job to write an act so that it will pass constitutional muster, and if they don’t, it should be sent back to them to rewrite so that it is.

  • Brian English

    This morning Instapundit has a link to an interview with Prof. Randy Barnett, the architect of the challenges to Obamacare. People should go read the interview and calm themselves.

    “Let me ask you this, should the HHS mandate be left up to the people for a vote or should it be struck down as a violation of the first amendment?”

    If, God forbid, Obamacare is not repealed over the next year, then the HHS mandate will be struck down as a violation of the First Amendment, and the opinion will most likely be written by the evil, cowardly, duplicitous, closet-liberal John Roberts. I wonder what people will be saying about him then?

  • Kevin

    To paraphrase President Reagan, it’s dusk in America.

  • http://jscafenette.com Manny

    @ Mike Blackadder above:

    Very well stated. That’s what I’ve been trying to say.

  • Andy

    Madam Anchoress – I agree with your statement that Mr. Roberts just told America to grow up and reclaim our country. Really all the decision says is that Congress has the right to do exactly what it did. He doesn’t support the their decision, but they decided. A little less dialing and gnashing to teeth from either side is needed it is at the ballot box we, the people, must decide issues such ACA and others. I only wish he had thought about that before the Citizens United decision.

  • SeraphicFather

    Has the question been answered can the federal goverenment mandate the ‘purchase’ of a commodity, that commodity being health insurance by an individual? Is this constitutional? It seems we are fusing government and the private sector together in a way the is true to the socialist form of political sytem. In some sense I agree with Roberts that this is a bad law but a law none the less.

  • Mike R

    It seems like we go from crisis to crisis each week or even days in this country. I can’t help but think that this is somehow driven by media and instant communication via all our technological advances. Yes, this ACA ruling is important, but is it really a crisis- is it this end of the world mentality that we hear from both sides. I mean, this country has certainly endured much worse and gone through real moments of “crisis” in our history compared to this ruling. There just seems to be so much more noise and shouting because we can say whatever point comes into our brains instantaneously and share it with the whole darn world. As hard as it is, maybe we all need to learn to chill for a day or two and then share our opinions. I know we have this FNF thing going on now which could be good if we actually pray rather than play politics. But, maybe what would actually be more helpful, is a national day off from watching these polarizing talk shows. Maybe we all need to read a good book, go to the beach or mountains and breathe it all in and for a short while put this so called crisis in perspective. Be thankful for what you have – health, family, friends. Because when you lose that, then you are in real crisis. Sorry for pontificating here. Happy weekend.

  • Matt

    Wish I could be optimistic that the voters will change this, but I’m not. It’s an entitlement, now blessed by the Supreme Court, and entitlements never go away. They just grow.

  • Libby

    Sarah Palin said after the election in 2008, “We can’t be depressed about it”. The same goes for this SCOTUS decision. It is what it is! Now, are we going to whine and be hateful? I am thankful for those who can calmly look at it and see a way through this, there is no other choice. Let’s not be mean and vindictive…that is the way of the liberal Left. Ultimately, this earth is the realm of the Prince of Darkness….our true home is not here. So, we continue to fight the good fight, not because we will ever create a complete utopian existence here on earth but because it is what good people are called to do…and remember that God is good!

  • Kevin

    Does it need to be pointed out that four brilliant jurists totally disagree with the ‘Roberts did the country a favor’ bandwagon. All four said Aca is utterly unconstitutional. Three of them catholic. I’d have to defer to their judgment rather than the commentariat.

  • ann

    I would take issue with Justice Robert’s statement “It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.”

    Actually, that is exactly the Supreme Court’s job when elected politicians push through legislation against the express wishes of a vocal public constituency as in the Obamacare case. I remember the phone lines being jammed in D.C during that time.

    It is doubly the case when the legislation is unconstitutional and when the SCOTUS has to offend facts and logic to uphold it.

    However, I will say something new to Catholics in particular.

    It is Catholic teaching that we are required to take ordinary care of our health and that we have a RIGHT under certain circumstances to use extraordinary means. If, as is happening already with Medicare, patients are denied that option are the Bishops not objecting?

    Why only on contraception etc.?

    It would seem to me that Obamacare offends at many more points and should be objected to by all Catholics, especially the Bishops.

  • http://mojavehicular.wordpress.com/ Bill M.

    You Benedictine oblates are dangerous. The reference to Chinatown had me turning my head just in time to avoid marring my keyboard with an oatmeal spit-take.