First, I will note that the portion of the opinion which ruled the mandate unconstitutional may prove to be helpful in future cases. So, yay.
On the other hand, I don’t see why Justice Roberts could not have taken the same position without rewriting the law. He could have said that the Congress lacks the power, under the Commerce and Necessary & Proper clauses; that Congress does have the power to enact health care reform, funding it with taxes; that if this was a Congress’s intent, then Congress needs to enact new legislation with the correct language.
Instead, the Chief Justice chose to rewrite the language himself, saying that the “penalty” was in fact a tax, no matter what Congress chose to label it. (I am reminded of the story told by Abraham Lincoln: if you call a dog’s tail a leg, how many legs does a dog have? The answer is 4, because it doesn’t matter what you call the tail, it is not a leg.)
Here is the problem I see with Justice Roberts’ approach: Congress very specifically rejected the word “tax” in writing the law. Nothing prevented them from labeling this as a tax, other than the negative reaction they anticipated from the voters. Congress chose the term, Congress should be the body to change the label.
By ignoring the carefully selected, plain language of the act, Justice Roberts displayed contempt of Congress.
My immediate reaction :
1. Words have no meaning. What the Congress specifically said was not a tax was deemed to be a tax.
2. Americans need to buckle down and elect to Congress only people committed to the Constitution. We cannot rely on the Supreme Court to protect us. (See the moronic Kelo decision for instance.) If we don’t have such people running, then we must run ourselves.
3. We need a revival. Only God can save us.
I am not a lawyer. I don’t know the answer to the question I’m about to pose.
When the Supreme Court upheld the portion of Arizona’s law that allowed police to check immigration status, the Obama administration immediately ended all 287(g) agreements in that State.
Now, those agreements delegate the enforcement of immigration laws to non-Federal police agencies. As of now, immigration laws can be enforced by non-Federal agencies in 23 other States. (Scroll down at link for the list of States and agencies.)
The Fourteenth Amendment has been interpreted to mean that “equal protection” requires that laws be enforced equally. See, for instance, Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S.356 (1886).
Does this mean that someone arrested by the LA County Sheriff’s Office for an immigration violation can now seek protection under the Fourteenth Amendment? Or perhaps the Fifth Amendment, if the violation of the person’s rights is believed to have been committed by the Federal government?
Please keep Aaron Walker in your prayers. On the same day of his victory in court over convicted perjurer and domestic terrorist Brett Kimberlin, someone called in a false report to police that he had shot his wife. This tactic, known colloquially as SWATting, puts the victim at risk of bodily harm: the police tend to arrive with weapons drawn. Fortunately, the police handled this situation with a high level of professionalism.
One might conclude that Aaron was shielded by the prayers of many…
” For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12
In a victory for freedom, Aaron Walker is once again at liberty to blog about convicted perjurer and bomber Brett Kimberlin.
Posted by your humble correspondent here:
May I suggest that part of the problem is that there are (at least) two economies we should be considering? There is, of course, The Economy: GDP, investments, consumption, production, and so on. This is what we trend to think of when economic discussions take place. There is, however, another economy, which we might designate as the Political Economy. One may safety treat the two as congruent, until there emerges a professional political class. At that point, the two economies diverge. The citizenry continues to labor, produce, consume and save. The political class, meanwhile, strives for the acquisition and retention of power. In a democracy, or a democratic republic, power can be acquired by offering short term benefits to voters. Power may be retained for awhile by providing short term benefits to as many voters as possible, given the existing accumulation of capital from prior generations. As long as that patrimony has not been fully depleted, the politicians can avoid the fundamental problem addressed by The Economy, which is the requirement to make choices. Low taxes and high spending make for lots of contented voters. Once the patrimony is squandered, the politicians can maintain the illusion that choices do not have to be made, by borrowing to fund the level of spending for which they dare not set a commensurate level of taxation. This involves squandering the resources of other nations. Once that source of fund dries up, through depletion either of the others’ resources or patience, the politicians must begin to divide the nation against itself. Their decisions on taxing and spending are disconnected from any considerations of how The Economy is affected, our what is required for proper governance of the nation. All decisions are driven solely by consideration of the next election: will this action cause a net increase in votes for the incumbents? Will this action improve The Economy in time for the election, disregarding whether the improvements are temporary or permanent? The end result, which is perfectly in accord with the Political Economy, is to make subjects of all citizens. Those being taxed must deal constantly with the politicians, bribing them to induce them to ease the burden of taxation. Those receiving benefits must genuflect, to protect themselves from a reduction or suspension of benefits. The final stage is when the producing class has been sufficiently burdened that it collapses, leaving no source of funding for the benefits received by the rest of society. Even in this final stage, the Political Economy will continue to function as before, though the politicians will now have to resort to inciting class warfare among the subjects. The progression from stage to stage is not inexorable. At most points, the voters can reassert themselves as citizens. Of course, this requires a population that has a moral core. One may, perhaps, find hope in the recent Greek elections, won by those advocating austerity; that is, by those telling the voters that choices must be made. One
hours hopes the Greek citizens will stay the course. One hopes the citizens of other countries will learn from Greece, and take the necessary steps towards austerity sooner rather than later.
A great writer has left the scene. It’s difficult to pick a favorite book. I suppose I would choose “Something Wicked This Way Comes“. Bradbury expertly captures the spirit of 12-year-old boys, just beginning to see the world as it is. Old enough to understand what they see, young enough to be free of the blindness asks adopt so they can avoid seeing the world as it is.
To this day, nearly a half-century later, I think of Ray Bradbury whenever I see autumn leaves blown down the street by the winds of October.