Help me interpret the Supreme Court ruling

Having put up the obligatory post about what is included in today’s Supreme Court’s ruling on Obamacare, I am a bit confused about the decision.  And, I know you will be able to dispel said confusion with your comments.

The Court held, at page 26,

Construing the Commerce Clause to permit Congress to regulate individuals precisely because they are doing nothing would open a new and potentially vast domain to congressional authority. [emphasis supplied]

But, it apparently is ok to construe the tax clause to permit Congress to open the same new and potentially vast domain to congressional authority.

As Ricky would have said, “splain it to me Lucy.”


27 replies
  1. stinkfoot
    stinkfoot says:

    I get the sense that the ruling was a foregone conclusion and the job of the liberal lap dog justices voting in favor was? making their justification for it believable.
    Frankly this administration couldn’t care less what the people think or want but they sure have skilled? professionals in the mainstream media who are adept at convincing people that things like this money and power grab are in their best interests.
    Frankly we’re well on the way to becoming a dictatorship.? The silence from what should be an outraged working class is deafening.

  2. jjflynn
    jjflynn says:

    As a mark of today?s me culture Justice Roberts sold the US citizens he is supposed to serve and yes protect from such enormous expansions of government power down the river trying to set up a legacy for himself that liberals will respect and also somehow uphold the ?stature? of the Supreme Court.
    Instead he became an accomplice in a bait and switch fraud perpetrated on the American people. President Obama and Congressional Democrats knew Obamacare would never be able to pass if it was proposed to be funded by the largest tax increase ever. So they called it a penalty (bait) supported by the commerce clause. When it came time to defend that in court however they knew that would not work so they called it a tax (switch). Justice Roberts basically rewrote the law allowing the penalty to become a tax and thus constitutional. His legacy is now a disgrace and the Court has no stature or trust ?in the eyes of any honest citizen.??<span style="mso-spacerun:…

  3. lil connie
    lil connie says:

    SOS: ?I was calmed and a little encouraged by a column I read after today’s decision, that explains why ?the Roberts opinion is not as terrible as it appears on its face; namely, Townhall’s Kate Hicks, “The Roberts Opinion – It’s Not All Bad.” ?She made several salient points that strict originalists would applaud, but, for brevity, I’ll quote just one that goes to the Commerce Clause. ?According to Ms. Hicks, the Roberts opinion [establishes] “a defining limit on the Commerce Clause which had heretofore not really existed. ?Congress is now restricted in its ability to use this very broad power, in that it cannot compel individuals to participate in the market … Roberts has ruled that Congress can’t criminalize not buying something because of the effect abstention will have on the market. ?Indeed that was at issue in this case; the fact that it’s unconstitutional is a win for liberty.” ?I hope you get a chance to read the entire, two-page column. ?I’d love to get your take on it.?

    • joe_m
      joe_m says:

      ??a defining limit on the Commerce Clause which had heretofore not really existed. Congress is now restricted in its ability to use this very broad power, in that it cannot compel individuals to participate in the market ?”

      They can?now call everything they want?you to do but don’t?a “penalty” and?not paying the “penalty” will??result, first in the confiscation of your property and then jail. They now have the broadest power they ever had. Remember, they set the level of the penalty (tax).

      It is the end of freedom.?

  4. TexasDB
    TexasDB says:

    SOS, maybe you can help here.? Has there ever been another Supreme Court case similar that forced an individual to spend their own money or be taxed?? If not, does this not set a precident for further cases – i.e. it wasn’t illegal in National Federation of Independent Business vs. Sibelius so it is not?now in “TexasDB vs. Sibelius.”?As much as I think we need to repeal this law, isn’t the ‘damage already done?’

    Further,?I’m reading the decision now, but even a quick read through the first 4 pages is riddled with contradition.? Like you mention above and then further that?not paying for insurance and incurring the ‘tax’ need not be?construed as unlawful – yet it is that?very LAW that mandates it.??Also love Roberts comment, “The payment is not so high that there is really no choice but to buy health insurance” [as thought they looked in my pocketbook] then a few sentences later “None of this is to say that payment is not intended to induce the purchase of health insurance.”? So which is it, not expensive enough, or expensive enough?

  5. jjflynn
    jjflynn says:

    Yeah it’s real nice that Roberts said the Commerce Clause can’t be used to force citizens to buy something but then he basically rewrote the law to allow the government to use their tax authority to?modify behavior (make us buy insurance for now). We must redouble our efforts to defeat President Obama and as many Dems in Congress as possible in November. We don’t have much time left to turn the country around. Can you imagine what Obama and the Dems will do with this new tax precident if they get back in!?

  6. gillie28
    gillie28 says:

    Just a heads-up, this comment will be totally useless from a “‘spain it to me”?point of view.? The decision on the whole 2,000+ page, boondoggle mess raised more questions than gave answers in my opinion.? Does that mean that if we don’t eat government-mandated food, wear government-mandated clothes and use government-mandated toilet paper we will be subject to “tax penalties”??? Seems it’s opened a whole new can of worms….although IRS customer service jobs will be through the roof if/when the law comes into effect.

    And again, my usual question remains, what if you are a US citizen living overseas who pays taxes in the US?????? Too abstract for the Supremes to deal with, I suppose, let alone Congress.

  7. Marilyn
    Marilyn says:

    For 3,1/2 years President Obama has been the Great Divider.? He has pited the American people against each other based on race, income, education and worst of all religion.? Justice Roberts was less then pleased when called out at the State of The Union on Citizens United.? What Justice Roberts has just said to the American people? is….it is up to you too be the Great Uniter.? You must choose what kind of Nation we are to become.? Let Us Unite!

  8. JBS
    JBS says:

    Yes, do help me to understand this . . . event. I have read as many of the “informed opinions” as I could. All those not Democrats seem to be wandering, lost, in a wilderness of mirrors. The accusations and acrimony are flying. This provides no solace.
    What can be salvaged? What is the Right’s endgame for confronting O-Care? Romney wants to repeal it Day One of this presidential term. How’s that going to work? Legislators will be salivating, plotting, over all of the new revenue coming into the Treasury (a General Fund). Hmm?
    Roberts, by rewriting law, defined the penalty as a tax. Americans (except Democrats and immigrants) hate taxes. Maybe there is some saving element there. A tax revolt, anyone?
    The fact is that, by the Robert’s Court upholding O-Care via the tax power of Congress, we have entered a whole new era of statism, Socialist command economy. The American people, exceptions noted, have largely given Obama his head (horse lingo). This latest tax increase (the Great Tax Massacre) in history, this assault, on individual rights may provide the backlash to finally UNITE the currently warring Republicans, conservatives, tea party folks, moderates,…

  9. EZEE
    EZEE says:


    I’ve been fuming about this Obamacare decision all night, and it finally dawned on me – Justice Roberts is brilliant! While democrats and republicans are in a boxing match, he’s playing chess.
    1. the dems can’t say SCOTUS is racist
    2. dems can’t say SCOTUS is right-wing
    3. the gov’t can’t force you to buy something under the Commerce Clause
    4. the only way Obamacare is constitutional is because it is a TAX (good luck defending that)
    5. the next time the republicans control the senate, this TAX can be repealed with 51 votes because it is now a budget issue – it cannot be fillibustered.

    He threw a perfect block – it’s up to us to run through the hole!

  10. JBS
    JBS says:

    . . . No Labels, and unaffiliated voters against the Progressive, Socialist — rapidly becoming Communists — Democrat Regime.
    Maybe that’s the best thing to come out of the SCOTUS O-Ruling. Let’s dump this Regime!

  11. zedgar2
    zedgar2 says:

    I don’t see this ruling as an expansion of the Feds taxing power. Consider that even before this ruling, Congress could raise tax rates across the board by, say, 1%,? and simultaneously provide a tax credit of 1% of income for those that purchase qualifying health care coverage (or, for that matter, a certain amount of broccoli). That is no different economically than a 1% penalty tax for not purchasing coverage (or for not purchasing broccoli). So in reality, there is no extension of federal power via the tax code here – it just provides a more direct way for the Federal Government to do what it always could do indirectly. This ruling simply highlights how dangerous the Feds taxing power really is and has been all along.

    • yeah
      yeah says:

      I tend to agree, but this is blatantly “legitimizing” it.?? Roberts’ ruling was a hatchet job on the nov elections…not that I thought obama had much of a chance in the first place, now it makes it more likely for more R wins – and the SCOTUS bench should not be used for such things.? It should be impartial even if it leads to an outcome one doesnt necessarily think is the most robust in the short term – but this ruling puts the integrity of the SCOTUS in question.? (Er, the remaining 4-5 that actually look at the book of law when making decisions…sad that there was never one second of doubt on how the progressive justices were going to vote.)
      Food for thought,

  12. kateinmaine
    kateinmaine says:

    A place where there isn’t any trouble. Do you suppose there is such a place, Toto? There must be. It’s not a place you can get to by a boat or a train. It’s far, far away. Behind the moon, beyond the rain… ?Somewhere over the rainbow. . . ?

    • JBS
      JBS says:

      . . . get the broccoli, she needs a shock to bring her back.
      Seriously, a lot of people thought that place would be Florida . . .
      All of the Right Thinking Peoples have to get behind killing this O-Care leviathan. Or, it’s not long before uniforms are required.

  13. Tim-in-Alabama
    Tim-in-Alabama says:

    The mandate was not a tax during legislative debate and passage deeming. The mandate became a tax when it emanating from Robert’s penumbra. Now that the Democrats are back to campaigning (as if they ever stop), it no longer is a mandate; it’s a requirement to deal with deadbeats.

    • stinkfoot
      stinkfoot says:

      I’ve seen it characterized as a shell game and I tend to agree with that.? I suspect that the hope is our collective short memories and attention spans will ensure that the deliberate deception and “bait and switch” effect will not cost them in November.

      It’ll be a mandate not only to deal with deadbeats but also straw man “millionaires and billionaires”… gotta freshen that dose of class envy/warfare to keep the rabble distracted and divided.? I see Obamacare as having zero intent to control health care costs but as a means of establishing new revenue sources under that premise.? The government is running out of money- entitlement programs are on the verge of insolvency, our congress insists on spending us over that proverbial cliff, and they have zero intention of making meaningful cuts.? The issue of spiraling medical costs gave them a golden crisis to exploit.

  14. JBS
    JBS says:

    The best thing Roberts did was call the mandate out as a tax. (The largest tax increase in history now hangs on Obama’s shoulders.) The worst thing he did was rewrite the ****** thing.
    It would have been much better if the SCOTUS declared the thing unconstitutional, which happened, and throw the thing back to the Congress and see if the Democrats could engineer another “Louisiana Purchase”.

    • stinkfoot
      stinkfoot says:

      Yes but this will likely be lost on most folks as enough time has passed since Obama’s claim of no resulting tax increase that the outing of his big lie won’t register with much of his base and the full effects will not be felt until it’s time for the ’14 mid terms.? He’s betting that he’ll still be in office and able to veto any move to repeal if the composition of congress changes enough to enable it.? I doubt that there’s any miscalculation on the part of the administration.

  15. Dimsdale
    Dimsdale says:

    Doesn’t this make the ?bamacare mandate the ultimate unfunded mandate?? Well, except by us, of course…

  16. TexasDB
    TexasDB says:

    Seems to me the heart of this decision is on Pg?5 of Roberts Opinion.? Clearly the interpretation of what the government may tax is loosely interpreted.? Something?tells me the framers had something else in mind as to the taxing powers of government when tea?was dumped in the Boston harbor.? I don’t believe this “tax” is to pay debts or for common defense.? As for general welfare – read?”well-being” where?the tax?does not violate inalienable rights such as property and liberty not “welfare” check.
    From Pg 5:
    Congress may also ?lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Im?posts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States.? U. S. Const., Art. I, ?8, cl. 1. Put simply, Con?gress may tax and spend. This grant gives the Federal Government considerable influence even in areas where it cannot directly regulate. The Federal Government may enact a tax on an activity that it cannot authorize, forbid, or otherwise control.<span style="color: #000000; font-family: Times New Roman; font-size:…

  17. jjflynn
    jjflynn says:

    Justice Roberts apparently caved to political pressure. All this about the brilliance of his decision as a strategy to defeat Obama and limit liberal court decisions in the future is baloney. His decision was tortured and bizarre at best and has left the country in growing political turmoil. Justice Roberts had the weapon (The Constitution) to kill the raging lion called Obamacare and stop it from devouring us and our nation as founded. He should have done his duty to uphold the Constitution but he did not. So he joined the fraud and upheld Obamacare as a tax. He then ran away and threw the weapon (our right to vote for President and Congress in the Constitution) to us the American People and said you kill the lion. Will we also?fall preyto the fraud?or will we kill the lion?!

  18. Linda Mae
    Linda Mae says:

    Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and
    six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure
    twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.

    Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

  19. Brutus
    Brutus says:

    The tax issue is minutiae for two reasons. Obamacare on its face is unconstitutional since regulating healthcare is not an enumerated power granted to Congress in Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution and therefore is a power reserved only to the states or to the people per the 10th Amendment. The SCOTUS is not needed to interpret that fundamental concept. That fact aside, the SCOTUS ruling is itself unconstitutional. Article III Section II lists only certain types of cases the Judicial branch can hear. That list was further restricted with passage of Amendment XI. An act of Congress is not listed in Article III Section II.

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