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Chief Justice Roberts and Obamacare

Posted by Steve Markowitz on July 2, 2012

On June 29 this Blog posted an article “Supreme Court Finds Obamacare is a Tax“.  Today Jim Mahoney posted a comment on that article which is worthy being placed upfront on this Blog and is included below.

While Jim makes various good points on Chief Justice Robert’s decision, perhaps the most significant relates to the possibility that news media pressure played a role in Robert’s ruling when Mahoney states: If the story coming out of CBS is true it is even more tragic that Roberts changed his vote based on the negative press being thrown at him by Obama and the media.  We have now established that the Chief Justice can be blackmailed by the press.

Barring a significant rout by Republicans in November, Obamacare will remain the law of the land and significantly impact American society for years to come.  It is difficult to predict the specific consequences of governmental meddling in markets.  However, history has shown that the larger and more significant the legislation, the more significant the consequences.  Unfortunately, the lion share of such consequences are negative and worse than the ill that the legislation is purported to address.

Some Thoughts Chief Justice Roberts and Obamacare, by Jim Mahoney

This morning I heard someone on the radio marveling at the fact that Chief Justice John Roberts was playing Chess when everyone else was playing Checkers.  I would simply reply that sometimes the game people are playing actually is Checkers and it doesn’t pay to over-think the situation.  We were on the verge of having the entire Obamacare bill declared unconstitutional and Roberts snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.  If the story coming out of CBS is true it is even more tragic that Roberts changed his vote based on the negative press being thrown at him by Obama and the media.  We have now established that the Chief Justice can be blackmailed by the press.

Some conservative commentators are looking for a silver lining by saying that the Roberts opinion has narrowed the ability of the Left to use the Commerce Clause in a future.  This is also untrue.  As Mark Levin noted last week, Supreme Court precedents, as well as challenges to decisions, are determined by what is referred to as “The Opinion of the Court”.  Simply stated, when the majority of Justices agree on a position, the decision is written as being the opinion of the Court.  In the case of this most recent opinion on the Commerce Clause, Roberts wrote the opinion under his name alone.  So even though the four originalists on the Court held the same opinion, it was not described as the opinion of the Court.  So, Roberts has given us the worst of both worlds.  He has established legal precedent for the government to tax us on anything they want and failed to establish the precedent of narrowing the use of the Commerce Clause by his poorly written opinion.

I have even heard someone say that the silver lining is that Roberts is in effect telling us that elections matter so that conservatives will be energized to beat Obama in November.  Who in their right mind would have wanted to come to this?  So we are now put in the position of electing Mitt Romney and majorities in the House and Senate in order to have a ghost of a chance of overturning this monstrosity.  If we are indeed playing chess, Roberts has left us with only a single move this November to prevent checkmate.

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