“In a democracy, the power to make the law rests with those chosen by the people. Our role is more confined, “to say what the law is.”… That is easier in some cases than in others. But in every case we must respect the role of the Legislature, and take care not to undo what it has done. A fair reading of legislation demands a fair understanding of the legislative plan. Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them. If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter.” – Chief Justice John Roberts
For the second time in as many years, the U.S. Supreme Court produced a ruling in favor of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The Supreme Court was wrong, and Justice Roberts demonstrated politics is far more important than the U.S. Constitution when it comes to his approach to constitutional jurisprudence. With Roberts’ majority writing, he proves he no longer believes the justices should serve as “umpires.” The court should not consider the ramifications of overturning or validating a law; it should only adhere to a strict constitutional interpretation.
As with Roberts’ previous Obamacare ruling, when he found a tax within the individual mandate where Obama said there wasn’t one, Roberts now sees things in the law that just aren’t so, and falsely believes he can see into the hearts and minds of legislators, even if he cannot find any constitutional protocol that validates that belief. Roberts has elevated himself to an unelected legislator, with a black robe and lifetime appointment.
First, we are not a democracy. Although there are democratic processes that function within our government, we are in fact a constitutional-republic, which is a governmental institution guided by the rule of law, and not the mob, which all too often rules in a pure, unbridled democracy. In “Notes on the State of Virginia (cited by Madison in Federalist 48),” Thomas Jefferson referred to this as “elected despotism.” In a total democracy, unrestrained by a constitution, the majority can vote to impose tyranny on themselves and the minority opposition. An unvarnished democracy can vote to elect those who will infringe upon our inalienable rights.
Obamacare is the perfect extension of that statement. Obamacare started as 2,000 pages of poorly crafted legislation, which has ballooned to over 22,000 pages of bureaucratic regulations that even Roberts acknowledged in his majority decision lacked transparency. Obamacare was conceived behind closed doors, with a wink and a nod, bribes and undocumented promises. How can anyone truly believe a “fair reading” can ever be validated, constitutionally or otherwise? Roberts only needed to heed the words of then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi who stated, “But we have to pass the [health care] bill so that you can find out what’s in it …” Because there was no “fair understanding of the legislative plan” when the law passed, how can there be any impartial interpretation of the law now?
Additionally, many of the vocal supporters aren’t really enthusiasts about the ACA. Most see this as a pathway to a single-payer system (which is a whole other article) that was reaffirmed by Obamacare supporter and Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders who, in acknowledging the recent decision, said, “What the United States should do is join every other major nation and recognize that health care is a right of citizenship. A Medicare-for-all, single-payer system would provide better care at less cost for more Americans.”
The lack of transparency with which Obamacare was passed hid the true intent of Obamacare as being only a placeholder for a disastrous, national single-payer system.
Contrary to what Roberts claimed when he stated, “Our role is more confined, ‘to say what the law is,’” that in fact is not the duty of the Supreme Court. The court has a very simple threshold, to decide whether a law is constitutional. It never ceases to amaze me how seemingly smart people can ignore common sense, which results in injudicious consequences. As stated by the dissenting opinion, “Words no longer have meaning if an Exchange that is not established by a State is ‘established by the State.’” However, not only do words not have meaning, neither does the rule of law.
Roberts stated “Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them.” Yet, aside from the fact his assumption is suspect, he delivered the litany of examples of when government did get involved in our health care, and failed. Roberts then uses those government failures to justify the need for Obamacare. His defense becomes less about constitutional interpretation, and more about legislating from the bench, as affirmed by the dissenting statement, “Under all the usual rules of interpretation, in short, the Government should lose this case. But normal rules of interpretation seem always to yield to the overriding principle of the present Court: The Affordable Care Act must be saved.”
As the “sheeple effect” settles in and opposition to the law diminishes slightly, it does not mean Obamacare is the right approach to health care in America. One only needs to look to Switzerland to understand there are ethical free-market solutions that encourage the patient-doctor relationship, and keep government out of our way. The problem is that a truly ethical, free-market solution (with a minimal government oversight) has never been attempted in our country.
To say to some Obamacare is the law of the land is like saying to others the Citizens United decision is also the law of the land. Whether either truly is depends on your political position. To believe one is the law of the land, while the other isn’t, demonstrates the dilemma we find ourselves in as a country. Obamacare is neither affordable nor caring. It does not address the real root of the issue of true patient-driven health care, and as such there will always be resistance.