Justice John "Gumby" Roberts : Freedom For Americans Blog
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Justice John "Gumby" Roberts

by Freedom For Americans on 06/30/12

By Brad - FFA 

The Supreme Court majority decision upholding the Individual Mandate to purchase health insurance is not a good decision based on the merits of the Constitution but is a political stretch aimed at achieving a certain political outcome.  The decision achieves the exact opposite of what Chief Justice John Roberts hoped it would achieve: upholding the integrity of the Court by not having it take sides on a large political issue.  By Roberts extending himself, like Gumby, over the goal line for the liberal touchdown, he has far overreached what was necessary in his job as final arbiter of constitutional law.  The assumption is that he is conservative so I can’t assess exactly why he would make this stretch.  However, to suggest that he wanted a particular outcome is hard to argue against; and that the outcome is liberal is certain.  In the following, I am going to point out some problems with the decision. 


One of the principle arguments on behalf of the Mandate that the Administration’s legal team made was Congress has the authority to do so under the Commerce Clause to regulate interstate commerce. This was the fundamental question of this case.  The Law depends on the Mandate penalties to fund Obamacare.  However, the decision states  “The individual mandate, however, does not regulate existing commercial activity. It instead compels individuals to become active in commerce by purchasing a product, on the ground that their failure to do so affects interstate commerce.”  Justice Roberts is saying that you cannot force a purchase, you can only regulate it. With Roberts rejecting the primary argument, why isn’t the case closed here?   Obamacare fails without the Mandate because there would not be enough dollars in the system across all the states to fund the program. Without the mandated purchases through what Congress is seeing as an authority under the Commerce Clause, the entire law fails.  The principal and logical argument of the defense fails.  Congress had this in mind when they passed the law.  Gumby and the country could still be a normal size if the Court stayed with this logic and struck down the law.  But apparently positioning and posturing is required, even on the Court, which is supposed to be the interpreter of the law and not more than that.  When the American people are seeking relief from an overreaching government that is taking away their liberty, the Court interprets the law against the Constitution to give them that relief.  Supposedly they did that for women’s “rights” in Roe v. Wade.  Recently, federal appellate courts have done that for homosexual “rights” overruling state bans on gay marriage.  It seems to work on one side of political issues but not so well on the other side.  The decision goes on to say that the Federal Government is a government of limited and enumerated powers and that they cannot justify the Mandate under the Necessary and Proper Clause even though it is “necessary” for the other aspects of the law to work.   Expanding federal government power is not proper here.   


Inexplicably, Justice Roberts decides anyway, for the purposes of this law, to find a way to make the federal governments’ powers unlimited and proper, without justification under the Article 1 enumerated powers of the Constitution.   Reason could have prevailed but not so in this case.  The Court’s integrity could easily be intact but because we have a President that regularly mocks and complains about the Constitution, a Congress that frequently ignores the Constitution, and four(sometimes five) justices on the Supreme Court that are known to engage in judicial activism, somehow it would be Roberts and the other conservative justices on the Supreme Court that would be playing politics if they infused reason into this debate, not unexpected from all good lawyers and judges.  The American people, innocent and often uninformed or misinformed bystanders must again pay the price of attacks on their freedom because we all have to play by the political rules of the leftists in the media and political elite that do not care about normal logic or rule of law if it gets in the way of their ideological ends. Justice Roberts does the Gumby stretch by deciding that government has the power to impose the Mandate because it is a “tax”.   Have we ever seen before a tax imposed for not doing something?  Has every other time a fee is assigned for doing something wrong or not doing something that causes a risk to others been called a penalty?  It certainly seems the case.  In fact, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the President called the Mandate a penalty and not a tax.  The argument that it was a tax was a last resort option given by the Federal Government to the Court because “every reasonable construction must be resorted to, in order to save a statute from unconstitutionality”.  Is this the case even for a law that is immensely unpopular and contains all kinds of defects related to cost of care and actual ability to give care in the future?   


One of the arguments accepted for the penalty being a tax is that the penalty will be collected by the IRS. Well that sure is comforting. Anytime the Federal Government wants something from the citizenry, just add more people to the IRS roll to go knocking on the doors of American homes.  Another argument is that the penalty is not so high that it eliminates the choice of whether to purchase.  Roberts declares that he understands the penalty is intended to require people to purchase insurance but yet he is pretending it does not for the sake of calling this a tax.  The last argument for it being a tax is that the payment is not limited to willful violations.  Well speeding is not always a willful violation.  Does this make speeding tickets a tax? In fact speeding tickets are assessed even if the speeding was unintended and they are given even if it does stop people from speeding.  All you would have to do is collect speeding penalties via the IRS and it would be a tax according to this argument.  This is the point.  This ruling not only doesn’t limit government intrusion into the individual’s life, it expands it seemingly exponentially with the ability to require any expenditure and call it a tax.  Could you not see a day where the environmentalists in Government require all of us to buy solar panels for our houses or pay a penalty?  Why not?  It’s just a tax, no big deal to Justice Roberts.  The Gumby stretch over the liberal goal line by Justice Roberts will make it more difficult for American citizens to regain their freedom.   Three things are clear:

1)      Roberts had to stretch to achieve this outcome no matter what his political persuasion.  

2)      This outcome threatens the liberty of the American people  

3)      Because the outcome threatens the liberty of the people, the decision does not help the Court’s integrity.  The Judicial Branch, like the other 2 branches of Government, exist to enable a free people to prosper. 

Only Roberts knows why he played the game.  But I hope that it will continue to awaken those that are asleep and strengthen the resolve of those that are already active and awake.  The government is out of control and steamrolling towards unnecessary controls on top of too many good and decent people. They need to be stopped. 

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