Oops, I Did It Again!
by Austin Rhodes Have you noticed there are far more bold editorial columnists than there are bold skydivers? If last week’s column had been a parachute, I would be splattered all over east Georgia, in pieces too small to attract buzzards. Basing concrete declarations on events that have yet to transpire is the stuff that made casinos trillions of dollars through the years, and yet when the odds are so attractive, how can a mere mortal (ahem) pass up the chance to pick a winner? I was dead wrong when I predicted last week that Obamacare would be turned down as unconstitutional. Shame on me. But I am not alone in that shame. Five Supreme Court Justices were also dead wrong when they ruled that the legislation and funding mechanisms for the healthcare initiative were legal under the established and time-tested rules of constitutional law in the United States of America. I said last week that my three-year-old son and Atticus, the family Siamese cat, were smarter than President Obama when it comes to the U.S. Constitution. Now I can add the majority of the Supreme Court to the dunce list. If there is a personal consolation in all this, I suppose it is far better to err in predicting future events and the behaviors of fickle humans than it is to so completely foul up all that is acknowledged to be sound and logical precedent in Constitutional law. In all fairness, assailing their collective intelligence is the more innocent of the two possible explanations for this amazing transgression, if you are willing to give them the benefit of the doubt on the issue. Most of this country’s legal experts are not. It has been widely written and proclaimed this was nothing other than judicial activism of the highest order. You have had a week to read all those opinions, and the overwhelming consensus is that legislative intent was completely and aggressively ignored, and that the rule of law and precedent as we know it has been completely flushed away in this case. A few points to note, for those not up on such things. Now that the Obamacare “penalty” has been declared a “tax,” it will be interesting to see what other financial penalties also have been accepted into law as such. The feds now can legislate just about any behavior they want to into being, as long as they attach a tax penalty as a consequence of noncompliance. For those wondering how Obamacare could be unconstitutional when individual state healthcare mandates are not, the answer is very simple: State legislatures have the option to do many things that the federal government does not. The reason you see so few states attempting to enact completely socialized medical care is that it would be financial and political suicide for most. Because members of Congress tend to be elected under much more esoteric circumstances than state and local officials, there has always been the belief that it would be an easier mountain to climb, in a political sense, passing substantial national healthcare reform all at once, rather than just the blue states (which tend to favor European style healthcare) passing it piecemeal. The revelations concerning the motivations of Chief Justice John Roberts becoming the fifth and deciding vote in this matter are at the very least disturbing and, when taken seriously, no less than a direct threat to the integrity of the current Supreme Court as it is seated. If popular pressure and historic relevance are to be valued over the intent of the Constitution, then our Supreme Court Justices are little more than modern-day Pontius Pilates, delivering verdicts based on the roar of the crowd rather than the rule of law. Ironic that many in the same crowd cheering this ruling were the ones who most benefited when past Supreme Courts and presidents took highly unpopular stands on matters like equal access, gender discrimination and free speech. Supporters of the Obamacare measure should enjoy their win; they got what they wanted. But not for one second should they consider this a moral or intellectually honest victory, for it indeed is not. Five Supreme Court Justices knew the rules and chose to ignore them. Some call it judicial discretion, but I prefer the language better suited to laymen: They cheated.You Might Also Like: