Some observations on last week's Supreme Court rulings:
• Observation One: Chef Justice John Roberts demonstrated two frightening traits last week: an utter disrespect for the law and a scary level of inconsistency. On Thursday, when he was busy announcing that the Court was taking something it was given, namely a "mandate," and turning it into something else, namely a "tax," a tremendously disturbing precedent was established. National Review's Andrew McCarthy explains it best:
"Led by Chief Justice John Roberts, the Supreme Court decided that Americans have no right to due process. Indeed, the Court not only upheld a fraud perpetrated on the public -- it became a willing participant...."
"Let's say that, back when I was a prosecutor, I tried and convicted a man on a charge of conspiring to sell narcotics. I can prove he was conspiring, but it was really to sell stolen property. I convict him but, on appeal, the court holds, 'The prosecutor's evidence that it was drugs the defendant conspired to sell is wholly lacking.' At that point, the conviction has to be dismissed, and if I want to try him a second time, this time for conspiring to sell stolen property, I've got to indict him and start the whole process over again."
"Let's suppose, however, that the appeals court instead said, 'Eh, drugs, stolen property, what's the big whup? You just wrote the wrong commodity into the indictment. So let's not bother with a whole new trial at which you'd have to prove the correct charge to a jury. Let's just rewrite the indictment and pretend that it says 'stolen property' instead of 'narcotics.' Then we can uphold the conviction and call it a day.'"
That explains the disrespect part. Here's the inconsistency. Using the same "logic," Roberts, et al, tossed the part of the healthcare law requiring states to expand their Medicaid programs, essentially declaring the Obama administration's thuggish threat to withhold all Medicaid funding from states that refused to expand their programs a violation of federalism, aka state sovereignty. Yet two days earlier, when Roberts sided with the majority in the Arizona case, he said that state's attempt to rein in illegals overstepped federal authority, knowing full well that a totally compromised Obama administration, based on the lawsuit itself, had no intention of exercising that federal authority.
The administration made that crystal clear immediately following the Tuesday decision, when they announced that they would not be processing any of the information given to them by Arizona law enforcement officials, who are now allowed to inquire into someone's immigration status. In other words, Arizona can tell the feds who and where the illegals are, but the feds aren't going to do anything about it. That essentially eviscerates state sovereignty, leaving Arizona unable to defend itself from the onslaught of illegals, and a federal government on the record as ready to let it happen.
Roberts joked that he was heading to an "impenetrable fortress" following last week's handiwork. I've got a better idea. Spend a couple of weeks on an Arizona ranch perched near the Mexican border. Bring your four fellow Justices who approved this monstrosity with you. With any luck, you'll all get some firsthand experience regarding the real-world consequences of your "cleverness."
• Observation Two: I will never be a syndicated Beltway columnist. Unlike George Will or Charles Krauthammer, I am incapable of turning s**t into shinola for the purpose of assuaging conservative sensibilities. Will was thrilled with the idea that the Court reigned in the abuse of the Commerce Clause, again by turning the mandate to buy health insurance into a tax. "By persuading the court to reject a Commerce Clause rationale for a president's signature act, the conservative legal insurgency against Obamacare has won a huge victory for the long haul," Will writes. "This victory will help revive a venerable tradition of America's political culture, that of viewing congressional actions with a skeptical constitutional squint, searching for congruence with the Constitution's architecture of enumerated powers."
Like hell it will. Congress just got handed the power to tax every American, simply for being alive. Thus the power to tax -- as opposed to mandate -- just became unlimited. This makes George feel a lot better. Anyone not blinded by Beltway-inspired B.S.? Not so much.
Krauthammer was equally egregious. He congratulated Roberts for "pulling off one of the great constitutional finesses of all time." He claimed Roberts is both a "constitutional conservative" and the Court's "custodian" who protected its "legitimacy, reputation, and stature" by not overturning Obamacare, "presumably on political grounds..."
Presumably on political grounds? According to whom? A bunch of whiny liberals, including the president, who attempted to intimidate the Court by suggesting that a decision against Obamacare constituted judicial activism? Sorry, Charlie. What you see as a great finesse looks more like classic CYA of an earth-shattering magnitude. Either the Court abides by the rule of law or it doesn't, all the "legitimacy, reputation, and stature" in the world notwithstanding. The federal government now controls one-sixth of the nation's economy, and unless the nation elects a Republican president, Senate and House, it stays that way. And even if that happens and they vote to eliminate this hideous law, then what? The libs take it back to the courts, and this whole circus starts all over again.
• Observation Three: Americans are going to learn a terrible lesson. They're going to learn that having healthcare insurance is distinctively different than having healthcare itself. Think of Obamacare in terms of an electronics store offering the lowest price--by far--on a 50-inch plasma TV. You go to the store to buy one and they tell you, "yes that's the price, but we're currently out of stock." When the massive onslaught of the entitlement class overwhelms the government's ability to deliver actual healthcare services, Americans are going to find out a lot of critical drugs, surgical procedures, etc., etc. will be "out of stock" for extended -- and no doubt fatally for some -- periods of time.
And those that are available will be rationed just like they are in Britain, where only last week, one of their top surgeons admitted that the British National Health Service (NHS) may be "prematurely ending the lives of as many as 130,000 elderly patients annually." He noted that of the 450,000 annual deaths of patients under NHS care, about 130,000 are of patients who were on an end-of-life care method called the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) LCP was characterized as an "assisted death pathway rather than a care pathway." In America, that "pathway" will be handled by the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) that was just given the power to ration Medicare services for millions of seniors. And Sarah Palin was excoriated for referring to this bunch of unelected bureaucrats as a "death panel." Go figure -- while you still can.
• Observation Four: Winston Churchill once said, "Americans will always do the right thing... after they've exhausted all the alternatives." We've got one last chance to do the right thing, literally and figuratively, in November. The choices are quite stark: we either remain nation where every meaningful decision in our lives will be increasingly usurped by our Democrat "betters" in Washington, D.C. -- the very people knowingly/ leading us to Greek-style oblivion -- or we hand the keys over to Republicans, who themselves get one last chance to prove they are something other than collaborators aiding and abetting Democrats.
Obamacare constitutes the largest tax increase in the history of the planet. And it is aimed precisely where people like me and others always predicted the government would go when they need to raise real money: the middle class. If there is one bit of schadenfreude that emerges from this swamp, it is the thought of seeing the faces all those self-righteous OWS types when the government comes a-callin' and tells them they have to buy health insurance, or pony up a an ever-escalating "tax" for refusing to do it.
Either way it cuts into one's tent and drum budget quite severely.