Chief Justice John Roberts was wrong to uphold Obamacare
by, 06-28-2012 at 12:30 PM (918 Views)
The verdict is in. The Supreme Court has upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which narrowly passed Congress in a purely partisan effort. The swing vote on the Court, and thus the decision, lay with Chief Justice John Roberts.
In the decision, Chief Justice Roberts ruled the law to be Constitutional if the individual mandate portion of the law was interpreted and characterized as a tax, rather than as a penalty. This opinion in and of itself is questionable, as this "tax" would be based on not purchasing a product from a private business. This would be a brand new type of tax; a tax forcing a person to engage in a transaction, rather than a tax on a transaction. All existing taxes are based on activities. This new form of tax is a precedent, and a dangerous one at that.
Back to the law in question, it is apparent that this tax is better defined as a penalty, as it was written, and as it was intended. This penalty was not to be construed or interpreted as a tax. This was the very specific language used by lawmakers when this Bill was written, debated, and voted upon.
Chief Justice Roberts has re-characterized this penalty as a tax, and for that reason, he sided to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Law.
It should not be the role of the Supreme Court to re-characterize or modify law. This is legislation from the bench. When a law is in violation of the Constitution, the appropriate course of action is to strike down the law. If the opinion of the Court includes information on what language and intent might pass Constitutional muster, so be it. It is then up to the Congress to revise the legislation, debate the revision, and vote on the new version of the law. Finally, the new version would have to be signed by the President.
It is a sad day when new precedents are set in the laying of taxes and of legislating from the bench. Chief Justice John Roberts was wrong not to strike down Obamacare as it was written, and as it was intended. The initial intent and wording of a law is very instrumental during the debate and passage process. It should not be re-characterized or changed after the fact by the Court.