But a mandate is a tax
June 29, 2012 | Well, thank goodness that's over!
Yesterday the Supremes ruled that "Obamacare" (Affordable Care Act) is constitutional with an opinion written by the Chief Justice himself, John Roberts.
The court didn't buy the interstate-commerce justification for upholding the law, and the Chief Justice wrote "Construing the Commerce Clause to permit Congress to regulate individuals precisely because they are doing nothing would open a new and potentially vast domain to congressional authority." So, in order to rescue the statue from the determination of the Curmudgeonly Quartet of the Court that the whole damn thing should be thrown out, Roberts finessed the mandate into a tax, clearly allowable under the Constitution. The four liberal justice then signed onto the opinion, yielding yet another 5-4 decision. Only Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote a spirited dissenting opinion arguing saying that the act was, indeed, justifiable under the Commerce and Spending clauses.
Irony: Roberts, whose confirmation to the court was opposed by then-senator Obama, saves one of the central accomplishments of Obama's first term.
Much has been said about Roberts' apparent "swing" position on the case, and liberals have been falling all over themselves to explain it away as Roberts finally adhering to his balls-and-strikes metaphor from his confirmation hearing. I beg to differ:
So, what we have here, I think, is a case of the ends (preserve the act) justifying the means (legalistic contortions).
Meanwhile, Mitt Romney, the godfather of Obamacare (or midwife if you prefer), strode to a podium with the Capitol in the background to declare that the ACA was bad law and policy and he would repeal it on his first day in office. Note that although the sign on his podium says "Repeal & Replace", Mitt has said nary a word about what he would replace it with! (Nor has any Republican, for that matter.)
And by the way, raise your hand if you think that Mitt's first-day to-do list is getting dauntingly long!
Here we have the spectacle of a governor who implemented the precursor to Obamacare — including a mandate which he strongly supported — going around completely renouncing his connection with the signal accomplishment of his governorship! And besides being rich, he has no other claim to fame!
The editorial cartoonists were clearly standing by, for yesterday and today's papers were full of appropriate cartoons.
Last updated on May 21, 2016