Chief Justice John Roberts got it right. His opinion in what is commonly known as the ObamaCare decision limits the federal government’s reach under the Commerce Clause and under the Necessary and Proper Clause and increases the freedom of the States by telling the federal government for the first time that coercing states through the threat of withholding federal funds for compliance with federal policy has restrictions. The individual mandate still stands but only because The Court specifically indentifies the penalty for not purchasing healthcare as a tax. So Chief Justice Roberts reaffirmed limited government, empowered the states and labeled President Obama’s signature piece of legislation as a tax, all in the same opinion, and the liberal leaning bloc of The Court signed off on it.
After laying down restrictions against the president’s attempt to give the federal government enormous authority, The Court then accepted the mandate by labeling the penalty for not compiling as a tax. This is huge. ObamaCare is the biggest tax hike ever, a tax hike that hits the middle class disproportionately harder than anyone else. The wealthy, who the president has targeted as not paying their fair share, are largely unaffected by this tax hike because they already have healthcare. The indigent will be exempt. So who’s left but the middle class? President Obama has traveled the country telling the middle class that he is their defender. Now the president must explain to the middle class why he targeted them for the largest tax hike in our history. The president has said time and again that this is not a tax. But it is a tax and that classification serves as the pillar that holds the structure of the law as constitutional. Without the mandate penalty being a tax then this law does not make it and would have been struck down entirely, which is what many conservatives wanted. But that would not have been the best political scenario because it would have allowed the president and his surrogates to hit the stump as victims who tried their hardest to help America but were stopped by George Bush’s Supreme Court. Now the Ds can’t have that narrative. The Ds instead have to explain why they decided to place the largest tax hike ever on the middle class during a time when our economy was already hitting the middle class hard.
Yesterday was not a bad day for freedom as some conservatives may claim. A closer examination should give the White House pause while uniting conservatives nationwide. Chief Justice Roberts wrote in the opinion, “It is not [the Supreme Court’s] job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.” So let’s make the right political choices this November. Vote Republican in order to overturn the largest tax hike the middle class has ever been asked to endure.
This is the first in a short series of posts on the ObamaCare decision. Check back for more on the tax, a review of Justice Kennedy’s dissent, the political maneuvers both parties could make, and more on Chief Justice Roberts.