Finding that I'm wee bit obsessed with the ruling on the Healthcare Act. Need to get this out since the poor folks I am around in the real world did not read the dissenting opinion. Somehow writing thoughts out here might help me finally concentrate on the work I should have gotten done today.
What I am starting to realize is there are "ends justify the means" people that identify as liberals, progressives, and some that identify as conservative, Republicans.
We've seen politicians "message", one way while working an agenda that differs from the message. We've seen judges rule against written law to bring about their view of justice. We have a President that believes it is right for them to do so.
Today was baffling because the dissenting opinion was very clear and logical. Lawyers and judges are talented verbally. They cite definitions of words, as you'll remember Clinton doing, and as the dissenting opinion did, referencing several different dictionaries, one written in 1779.
My opinion and criticism is that we have seen liberal judges and justices make whatever argument they need to rationalize activism. It was expected that the 4 liberal judges would vote the way they did. It was not expected that the chief justice would replace the word penalty with tax in order to avoid overturning the act as unconstitutional.
I just did a search of the actual final text of the law. There are 685 mentions of the word tax. Tax credits come up quite a bit. There is a section IX as the dissenting opinion mentions that does call out some taxes and tax increases. These are not related to the individual mandate, however, just as the dissenting opinion called out.
There are 132 mentions of the word penalty. Roberts decided to accept the weak argument to the court that even if you don't rule it is constitutional because of the authority to regulate commerce then we'll also offer that it is constitutional on the authority to tax.
Why did Roberts accept that if the statute itself calls it a penalty and not a tax and if it was a tax it would have been mentioned with the other taxes in Section IX?
I don't know. His opinion cited that there is legal precedent for avoiding overturning passed law as unconstitutional, if possible. That is the reason he gave for interpreting the penalty as a tax. This seems like having a bias in favor of legislation that might be valid if the legislative process behind this law had some sort of integrity and resemblance to what it resembled during prior periods in our history. But his role is to protect the Constitution and the limits on federal powers enumerated there so as to preserve the freedoms and rights that our forefathers fought and worked to provide the citizens of the United States of America.
Some are giving him credit as one who calculated the "lose the battle win the war" using some form of political and legal quantum mechanics. This would put him in the end justifies the means camp, because I can't see him changing the wording of the statute, including putting what doesn't appear in Section IX squarely in the middle of Section IX by his ruling. This is judicial activism, legislation from the bench. That is wrong. It is against the 1990 oath of office:
"I, _________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as _________ under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God."
Others were suggesting he was bullied into it, as the dissenting opinion had a tone of being the majority opinion in parts indicating he switched late to preserve the law by reading into penalty the word "tax". Prior versions of the oath include the words,
"I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic".
That means standing up to political and personal bullies if that were the case.
It is done now. Some are taking encouragement that donations to Romney's campaign are up.
I am not encouraged that the Republicans talking on TV talk about doing things at no cost to the tax payer but then ignore that something is broken when "pre-existing conditions" bankrupt individuals and families or shorten lives, or decrease quality of life. What are the good ideas for solving that?
Here's one crazy one in a presidential election year when both campaigns will raise between $700 Million and $1 Billion. Tax the campaigns unless they donate money to cover high priced premiums or directly cover healthcare costs for those individuals with pre-existing conditions that have been refused coverage.
Another less flippant idea: Fine employers that do not subsidize health insurance for non-citizen workers, and sue them for the full cost of any healthcare costs incurred by non-covered, non-citizen workers that they most recently employed or are currently employing.
Have a national foundation that raises funds for those with "pre-existent conditions" or write this into Medicaid law while at the same time writing reforms into other entitlements like the disability coverage that has continued to increase providing disincentive to work and overcome disabilities for those whose disabilities are overcome-able.
Having worked for 7 years with a completely blind man who was an outstanding Unix Admin and DBA working with his monitor off, listening to the characters on headphones, and benefiting from the satisfaction that comes from work and fellowship with co-workers, we are not being compassionate by making it easy to collect disability.
What about those that are still able to retire at 50 with pension and healthcare that is funded by others who can't retire at 50 and do not have any retirement that they did not pay into themselves, and do not have healthcare unless they work or are old enough to qualify for Medicare?
This is my attempt to be rational and logical.
Where my emotion comes from is this law is the vehicle for executing on Obama's promises to NARAL, Planned Parenthood and others when he said he would get the Freedom of Choice Act passed. In the upholding of this law we will have abortion not just accessible on demand, but free, paid for whether it is against our conscience or not because all insurance providers will be required to provide it. No law has ever been voted on making abortion legal and free, but here it is legal and free.
Just as our original Constitution legislated the immorality of 3/5ths of a person for those immorally captured, and sold into slavery, we now have the strength of upheld law behind unelected cabinet secretaries passing regulation to ensure that the unborn child is continued to be treated and viewed as 0/5ths of a person and can be aborted readily at no cost at all.
It would be a full-time undertaking to ensure one was not buying products, services from companies that support Planned Parenthood or politicians that have a pro-abortion voting record and agenda. This just makes it harder to avoid providing funding used to kill the unborn. The immorality is angering. The missed opportunity to easily overturn the law that had our Congress acting as corruptly as in a Fascist or Communist state. . . . not allowing time for the people's representatives to read the bill, passing it through a reconciliation rather than an actual vote when it will put trillions more onto our national debt . . . it is just a day that will end just like it began,
"I can't believe it!"
Doesn't it seem just a little more like the quote from Robert Bolt's play, Man for All Seasons,
Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? ... just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then?
Congressional procedures were flat and changeable under Pelosi and Reid. Roberts gave liberal interpretation to "penalty" to make it a "tax" and eroded the limits intended by the Constitution and the original Amendment providing for the House of Representatives to initiate taxes.
Still we are the children of an all-powerful God who does work things for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28). We are told to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness (Matthew 6:33)! It happened, through God's permissive will, it happened. We were in his hands before and we'll be in his hands and maybe a little more prayerful now that this decision and balloon bursting has happened.
Please could we at least have Obama defeated in the November election? Please?