Thursday, June 28, 2012

Hope I die before I get old

Not really, of course, but I can’t say that I’m looking forward to receiving a subpoena to appear before a death panel someday, with further instructions to bring my playbook.

The Supreme Court, as everyone knows by now, upheld ObamaCare, declaring that, while the mandate is unconstitutional, the requirement to pay for health care is a legitimate tax, despite the initial, and very clear, argument originally made by the administration that the mandate was not a tax (this looks like the old FDR bait-and-switch on social security, to me). Roberts voted with the leftists on this. That is a huge disappointment, but not entirely surprising given his reputation for the fine splitting of hairs on the narrowest possible legal grounds – legal folly, in this case, as the decision represents the upholding of an abominable law on the basis of a very dubious technicality. So, I suppose if the government can link any new encroachment on individual liberty with a tax, then the underlying legislation (or executive order) is constitutional. Funny, but I have a vague recollection of the origins of the United States of America having something to do with a little disagreement about the government’s power to tax.

The political upshot is that the decision may truly ignite the conservative base (and many independents) and boost turn out in November, so that we have a chance to heave the Choom Master out of the White House (and a substantial number of his Democrat confederates out of the Senate and House of Representatives). Otherwise, we will be well on our way to smiley-faced fascism (the smile ultimately to be dropped, no doubt, in the face of resistance). In fact, we have advanced pretty far down that road, already. I mean, consider this: if the economy were performing marginally better than it is right now, Obama would probably be coasting to a second term. In spite of the astonishing radicalization and lawlessness of his Department of Justice, the Fast and Furious outrage, the assault on states’ rights, the utter imbecility of the president’s budget proposals, the dictatorial wielding of executive orders and regulations, the divisive class warfare rhetoric, the overwhelming arrogance and ideological extremism of practically everyone in his administration, the modus operandi of Chicago gangsterism and crony capitalism - in spite of all this, Obama would very possibly be home free, save for the continuing bad economic news.

A people who have forgotten how to value freedom, and who have lost their commitment to staying alert to assaults upon it, do not deserve to, and will not, remain free. What a pity if those of us who love liberty find ourselves in some nightmarish, Orwellian world through the apathy, ignorance and dependency of 51% of our “fellow” citizens.

Update: Ace provides some much-needed perspective, and also offers up this hilarious take
BREAKING: Eric Holder releases new statement: Fast and Furious was a tax.
Update II: Not really relevant, but does anybody else think that Roberts looks a little like the “Bob” character who appeared a few years ago in those risqué ads for some kind of penis-enlargement drug? I merely ask.

Update III: If this is true, then Roberts obviously could use some of the aforementioned potion.

Update IV: Romney raises over $100,000 in donations in the fifty minutes after the SCOTUS decision on ObamaCare was revealed. Now (1:54 pm) over a million dollars, Romney and RNC combined.

Update V: Democrats keepin’ it classy.

Update VI: Jeff Goldstein absolutely nails the linguistic incoherence of Chief Justice Earl Warren’sJohn Roberts’ “reasoning”. Or, as that venerable Asian philosopher, Pok Ho, once put it…

Update VII: At the federal agency where I work, there is a senior staff meeting held every Thursday, almost without fail. Today, shortly after the SCOTUS announcement, the meeting, which had been scheduled to take place as usual, was summarily cancelled without explanation. I strongly suspect that the politicals have rushed off to join Pelosi and other assorted high-profile constitutional demolitionists at their impromptu orgies of self-congratulation. I am reliably informed, in fact, that Pelosi is at this very moment standing in the center of a pentagram drawn on the floor of her office for the occasion, dropping the shredded remains of the constitution into a steaming cauldron of chicken blood.

And since Pelosi really did throw a party today, celebrating this horrible SCOTUS decision, I pronounce her doom:

Exult in the deviltries of thy coven while thou canst , witch, for, come the autumn, Nemesis shall stalk the heath, and she shall bring off thy soul on the sword point of divine retribution, and she shall come to me and place the withered thing in the hollow of my hand.

Last update to this post: For those who think Roberts did conservatives some kind of favor, by allegedly cutting off future abuses of the commerce clause, Legal Insurrection encourages you to think again.


missred said...

Well said, Paco. As Ace put it, it is back to plan A. I never try to predict outcomes - it only leads to disappointments - but I am not so sure about November anymore.
Sad but hopefully I can regain some optimism.

JeffS said...

Plan A it is.

But we will still need a Plan B. In war, you ALWAYS need a Plan B.

Minicapt said...

I think the Chief's decision needs to be read with more care. There are probably a number of stink bombs set to detonate in the face of the Dems.

Remember McCain-Feingold? It went through Congress in the proper way, but with various comments on its Constitutionality. But it passed both Houses. It went to the President who said he doubted its Constitutionality, but he signed it. It then went to the SC where many were sure it would be dumped because it was unconstitutional. And the SC punted … basically saying that if Congress passed a bill, and the President signed it, that should be sufficient.

Then "Citizens United" arrived, and the SC declared the significant part of McCain-Feingold was in fact unconstitutional , which apparently gutted the Act.

I think the Chief is sending a message to the other two Branches: stop passing legislation which assumes the SC will sort out the Constitution bits. Plus, by defining the Act's status as a tax versus a Commerce Clause thingie, he's told the President "Now that you're seated, start rotating". The ACA is not dead, but I think it's about to start putrefying.


RebeccaH said...

I want to see Obama trying to explain the humongous middle-class tax increase four months before the election. I'll have my popcorn with cheese sprinkles, please.

Paco said...

Captain: Roberts did one thing right - he attempted to put the kibosh on attempts by the other two branches to abuse the commerce clause. But then he used the fiction of congressional intent to enable the legislation to stand (hey, they meant it was a tax, which is ok). This was a very bad case of having it both ways.

I agree that bad law is not necessarily unconstitutional; but I still think this decision goes beyond mere bad law.

Robert of Ottawa said...

I haven't yet read your post, Paco, but will as soon as I publish my perplexity.

So, the Congress passes a law which demands everyone buy a product, and will be penalized if they do not (The Mandate). They specifically state this is not a tax in the law.

It is challeneged and goes to SCOTUS.

SCOTUS says that it is unconstituional as a mandate but OK as a tax.

Paco said...

Robert: You have summarized the so-called logic of the ruling with admirable concision.

rinardman said...

I want to see Obama trying to explain the humongous middle-class tax increase four months before the election.

"It's a tax on millionaires & billionaires."

rinardman said...

BTW, the Supremes also decided today that the First Amendment gives people the right to lie.

Obama rejoices!

Robert of Ottawa said...

Update III: If this is true, then Roberts obviously could use some of the aforementioned potion.

I suspect he had his bank account and familly seriously twisted; it's the Chicago style. However, his good conscience coldn't allow him to lie outright, so he came up with a contorted ruling:

The law states it is not a tax, but as a tax, it is constitutional. Wagon, horses, all you need is a lawyer.

Bob Belvedere said...

Very well put.

God help us - He's the only one left.

RebeccaH said...

"It's a tax on millionaires & billionaires."

The answer to this is:

"Millionaires and billionaires can afford insurance, so why would they allow themselves to be taxed yet again, considering they already pay the larger share of taxes for this nation? The middle class who may have lost employer insurance, and the poor who never had it, are the ones going to be paying the ObamaTax."

The upshot is, Obama is going to have to explain or prevaricate about why he lied about this. He can deny that it's a tax, and blame the Supreme Court for imposing a tax he didn't intend, but then he has to explain the difference between a tax and a mandate. I don't think he can.

Michael Lonie said...

Those who liken Roberts' opinion to John Marshall's in Marbury vs Madison are being too clever by half, as Roberts may have been in joining the liberals on the Court in upholding this unconstitutinal sewer of a law. Marshall was very careful about not using the power he had seized in Marbury. When he did try to use it to restrain the executive branch, in the Indian Removal Cases, President Andrew Jackson simply ignored his judgement that the action was unconstitutional. "Jonh Marshall has written an opinion. Now let him enforce it."

Future presidents may simply pass such a law, pretending it is not a tax, and when some court, citing this precedent, says that it's really a tax, says, "Eh, tough, it's a tax." Then they'll go right ahead doing what they wanted to do. Power grabs are what the progs want, and the legal justificatin doesn't matter. a power-grab based on the taxing power is just as good to them as one based on the Commerce Clause.

Now I think that the argument that it was a tax actually doesn't get the law off the hook of unconstitutionality. If it was a tax, that is a revenue bill, then it had to originate in the House. The law originated in the Seanta. It is considered a House bill only because the Democrats in the Senate took a House Resolution, amended it to remove all the original language, then amended it to insert the Affordable Care Act. Because it has am HR number, it counts as a "House Bill." So "procedurally" it qualifies as a revenue bill originating in the House. But this sleazy subterfuge was used to blatantly evade the clear language of the Constitution requiring revenue bills to originate in the House of Representatives and not the Senate. So by declaring it a tax, Roberts has also declared it unconstitutional by reason of its origin in the Senate, or would have if he recognized the problem and followed the logic of declaring the Mandatre to be a tax to its conclusion.

He didn't, even though the mostrosity was unconstitutional either way. I suspect Roberts was looking for one of those "Strange New Respect" awards the New York Times gives out to conservatives who abandon their principles to make liberals' destructive work easier. I think he allowed himself to be intimidated by the progs' invective about delegitimizing the USSC, so sought a way to give them what they wanted, no matter how he had to torture logic and the text of the Constitution to get there.

This sleazy power-grab, Obamacare, will put us on the road that ends in Greek-style disaster, and putting the pedal to the metal at that. In must be repealed in toto; the whole hog, totus porcus. There is so much dreck in it, so many pernicious little bombs hidden in its 2,700 pages, that no one can tell what damage it will do in the hands of the Sir Humphrey Applebys of DC; I understand that it accounts for 12,000 pages of the Federal Register already, and the rule-making is nowhere near done.

Romney, if he wins in November, and all the Pack members of the Congress, had better quickly repeal this abomination and start over again, in addition to reforming the government's treatment of the economy so as to get us out of recession, or the Packs will soon go the way of the Whigs. They can no longer play go-along-to-get-along with the Dems. If they do, the Tea Party will take over their role, and the Packs will deserve their political oblivion.

Minicapt said...

The Chief Justice is saying that the way to stop unconstitutional laws is to stop passing unconstitutional laws: it's a problem for Congress to fix, not for the Court to clean-up after.
And a good way to get the ball rolling would be for voters to stop electing anti-Constiitution Representatives and Senators.
And to stop whining about self-inflicted injuries.


Michael Lonie said...

Yes, it would be better if the Congresscritters didn't pass, and El Jefe in the Oval Office didn't sign, unconstitutional bills into law. In the real world that we live in, they do that, and it is the function of the Supreme Court to act as guardian of the last resort to protect the Consittution from irresponsible legisslators.

Roberts failed in that job. He chose to fail in it, in order to gain an ephemeral Attaboy from the liberal elite. I gather te didn't even get the Strange New Respect award he was angling for from the New York Times, so he sold his principles for nothing.

Protecting the Constitution is the other side of the coin of the power of the USSC, including the power to declare laws unconstitutional. It is the responsibility of the court to defend the law from those who would undermine it. It's idle to expect progressives sitting on the court to be other than political hacks when a law comes before them that embodies all the progressives' fantasy dreams, held for a century, for controling the lives of the proles. They will betray the Constitution to forward the progressive vision of controling the whole population from before birth to death. That is the aim of Obamacare. Progs will inevitably sell out their duty, but we expect better from conservatives on the SC bench. Roberts failed in this duty.