Let’s See What Roberts’ Had to Say

By June 28, 2012 No Comments

The main issue:  America needs to vote for freedom this fall

On the face of it, the Supreme Court’s approval of Obamacare’s constitutionality seems like an all-out trampling upon our liberties. But whether or not Chief Justice Roberts’ opinion was the right one, he certainly did not ignore the Constitution.

He argued that Congress has always had the power to tax and to regulate–in fact, the commerce clause only contains these words: “to regulate commerce.” But Roberts said that if the mandate was part of Congress’s regulatory power–as President Obama tried to argue to prevent the politically disastrous move of calling Obamacare a tax increase–then the federal government’s power would be unlimited:

“Construing the Commerce Clause to permit Congress to regulate individuals preciselybecause they are doing nothing would open a new and potentially vast domain to congressional authority. Congress already possesses expansive power to regulate what people do. Upholding the Affordable Care Act under the Commerce Clause would give Congress the same license to regulate what people do not do. The Framers knew the difference between doing something and doing nothing. They gave Congress the power to regulate commerce, not to compel it. Ignoring that distinction would undermine the principle that the Federal Government is a government of limited and enumerated powers. The individual mandate thus cannot be sustained under Congress’s power to ‘regulate Commerce.'”

This all sounds like splitting hairs, but that is what Supreme Court Justices are supposed to do. And just maybe John Roberts had in mind the long-term preservation of the Constitution rather than the short term political goal of tossing out terrible legislation, that even if it is Constitutional is an affront to our liberties.

Maybe what this means is we cannot sit by and hope the Court cleans up the mess that we Americans create for ourselves by electing the wrong sort of people to Congress. Maybe we need to pay more attention to the political process. If we really want a free republic, we’re going to have to put in some work to keep it.

Or we can just let the Court and the President and the Congress determine how we live our everyday lives.

This analysis from Slate arguing that Roberts’ decision actually limits Congresses power in the long run is worth checking out, though I’m not sure yet if this is accurate (1 page).

And check out the Daily Caller‘s comprehensive coverage here (multiple stories).

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