Supreme Court upholds Obamacare

Obamacare is now definitively the “law of the land”.  While this may not surprise those on the left, I suspect that even they were surprised by the Court’s reasoning.

Step 1 of the Court’s analysis was to determine if the case could even be heard as a result of the provisions of the Anti-Injunction Act.  That law prohibits any challenge to a tax until that tax has to be paid.  The Court found, at page 21,

The Affordable Care Act does not require that the penalty for failing to comply with the individual mandate be treated as a tax for purposes of the Anti-Injunction Act. The Anti-Injunction Act therefore does not apply to this suit, and we may proceed to the merits.

Thus, because the penalty isn’t called a tax, the action can proceed.

The next piece of the analysis was to determine whether the individual mandate could be justified under either the “necessary and proper clause” of the Constitution, or Congress’s power to regulate interstate commerce.

As to the argument that the mandate regulates interstate commerce, here is what we learn, at page 26,

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. 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.

And, at page 33,

The individual mandate forces individuals into commerce precisely because they elected to refrain from commercial activity. Such a law cannot be sustained under a clause authorizing Congress to “regulate Commerce”.

And further, at page 36,

Even if the individual mandate is “necessary” to the Act’s insurance reforms, such an expansion of federal power is not a “proper” means for making those reforms effective.

But, the analysis did not stop there.  The Court then analyzed whether the individual mandate could be permitted under Congress’s power to tax.

The Court found (at page 43) that because the failure to purchase approved insurance is not unlawful, the “penalty” for failure to so purchase was really not a penalty after all, but, was instead a tax.  And, because it is a tax, Congress had the power to impose the individual mandate under Congress’s taxing power.

I add, parenthetically, given this interpretation, there is little that Congress couldn’t compel you to do, by simply imposing a tax (called, of course, a penalty) on you if you don’t.

The Court did, however, strike down a provision of the law that allowed the Secretary of Health and Human Services to withhold all Medicaid funding from any state that refused to expand their Medicaid roles in compliance with the Act, calling said provision “coercive”.

So now, states are faced with a choice…greatly expand the money they spend on Medicaid, or simply allow their citizens to pay federal taxes to greatly expand the amount of money other states spend on Medicaid.

My head hurts.

22 replies
  1. winnie
    winnie says:

    Okay…so here’s my argument:
    Revenue bills are supposed to originate in the House, are they not?? Aren’t taxes considered to be revenue?? Not to mention that the IRS will be enforcing this tax for those who do not follow this abortion of a law?
    By determining that it’s not a penalty but a tax doesn’t this seem to be an opening to go after obamacare from another angle?? Could it be possible that Roberts has (unintentionally, of course) added a wrinkle to this battle which could potentially hurt the democrats?
    I guess I’m just not ready to let this go yet.? The whole bloody thing is so convoluted, *my* head hurts, too.

  2. jesichashope
    jesichashope says:

    If our penalty for not complying with buying something we choose not to buy is considered a tax; then may we assume as with all taxes it must represent something we the people are gaining with that taxation?? Should the penalty be considered taxation for what does it represent but a penalty fee; for what does this penalty fee give to the people?
    Although this is a sad day for us; we must consider what this decision told us. Surely it shows us, the Supreme Court cannot uphold the Constitutionality of Obama Care; it had to find ways around confronting it head on; splitting hairs to make it fit; though if you clearly view this decision it fits as well as a size 9 foot fitting into Cinderella’s slipper. The wicked sister cannot be Cinderella, no matter how hard she tries; Obama Care cannot fit into the Constitution no matter how hard it tries.
    We have learned a lot today; and we must take from what we learned to forge ahead in repealing Obama Care and restoring our freedom of medical choices; lest the government will force us all at any time they see fit to swallow whatever pill they pick.

  3. stinkfoot
    stinkfoot says:

    If the highest court can be stacked so that the law of the land can be circumvented and no one is held accountable then we may as well be living in a dictatorship… let King Obama rule by edict and don’t bother holding any election… just give him his coronation every four years because all pretense of legitimacy of this being a representative democracy is gone as far as I’m concerned.
    IF Romney wins in November, he had better repeal this illegal money and power grab and he also had better unstack the SCOTUS.

    • PatRiot
      PatRiot says:

      The game has changed by those who have no regard for the rule of law.
      The day after the market tanked(“07-“p08), a caller to Jim’s show matter-of-factly said” We went to bed in a Republic and woke up in a socialist state.”?? True as it was, it leaves me thinking: was this a quick witted person who?thought things through on the spot, or was it someone who had prior knowledge and was rubbing our nose in their success?
      The?questions that remain are:?
      1. ?If The DC mob?thinks outside of the “American rule of law” box, do the 10 Commandments and the Constitution mean anything to these folks?
      2.? What possible better framework do they?intend to put in place?
      The elected and appointed officials in the US are only there at the pleasure and/or patience of the American?people.? ??The choice, decision and action of where we go as a nation are indeed in the hands of American people, not the elected officials.

  4. dairyair
    dairyair says:

    Law all looks like gobbledygook to me, and appreciate the SOS’s thoughtful analysis. That said, reading through her post, it seemed to me that the Court found a lot that wasn’t legal in the law. I was quite surprised that the Court approved this mess. I liked Mitt going on the air right away, promising to repeal it. If he gets elected, I hope we will ALL hold his feet to the fire and hold him to his promise. If Obummer gets re-Elected, WE ARE DOOMED!

  5. phil
    phil says:

    June 28, 2012 will always be known as BLACK THURSDAY!? A BLACK DAY for the Constitution, a BLACK DAY for America, and a BLACK EYE for the Supreme Court.

  6. sammy22
    sammy22 says:

    The way I read it, the SCOTUS did not approve anything. It said that the mandate was constitutional. Making law is in the hands of Congress not SCOTUS.

  7. PatRiot
    PatRiot says:

    Rule #1:??The 10 Commandments?(at least 6 of them have no religious bearing)?and the Constitution are the best hope for a free world.
    Rule?#2:? Understand that the ever present opponent has no respect for Rule # 1.
    Rule #3:? America is?America?only if Rule #1 stays intact. ??
    Rule #4:? What is yours is yours as long as you are strong enough to hang onto it.?
    Rule #5:? Life is great if you don’t weaken.
    Rule #6:??A prudent person?does not need more rules.

  8. Dimsdale
    Dimsdale says:

    Sammy is right: the law was deemed constitutional with the penalty being recognized for what it is: a tax.?? Roberts handed the gift: he effectively called the “no taxes for anyone making more than (insert latest amount)” president a liar.
    Secondly, ?bama himself may have set precedent for the dismantling of this partisan bill: the selective prosecution he and his minions use to grant effective amnesty to illegal aliens via non enforcement of the country’s immigration laws.? Through the new “?bama Doctrine of Non Enforcement”, ?bamacare could be gutted.

  9. sammy22
    sammy22 says:

    Roberts effectively said: ” If you want to change the law on the books, Congress has to act”. The Executive “simply administers” the law (however it sees it). Chief Justice Roberts also said: ” I am not going to do the work for you. Your elective representatives have been elected to do the work. If you don’t like it have them change it”.

    • stinkfoot
      stinkfoot says:

      VERY good point here… gotta keep an eye on our so-called representation beyond just voting them in.

  10. Tim-in-Alabama
    Tim-in-Alabama says:

    The mandate is unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause and the penalty is not a tax, but it is a tax under the taxiing authority that allows taxes but not penalties for clauses to commerce under its authority as provide under the jurisdiction of relief to the penalty hereto imposed upon the merits.

  11. Dimsdale
    Dimsdale says:

    Hot off the press: Pelosi says that ?bamacare “is not a tax; it is a penalty on the free riders”? and went on to talk about “personal responsibility is the foundation of our country”.? She had the gall to say (several times) “the Constitution tells us”.? And then proceeded to defend the indefensible: Holder and Fast and Furious, although she never states anything about F&F, just how the “despicable” Republicans are out to get Holder.
    She is the perfect Democrat.
    You can see that they are deathly afraid of ?bamacare being recognized (and now legally) as a tax, and will keep Goebbelizing the message of it being a penalty “on the 1% (get the reference) that don’t want to pay for health insurance”? Apparently they are wealthy AND “free riders.”
    It is a tax, and the SCOTUS says so.? Pound it home.

  12. sammy22
    sammy22 says:

    I believe that SOS reported above that the penalty for NOT purchasing health insurance is a tax, NOT that the mandate to purchase is a tax. But never mind, all we’ll? read from now on is that that the mandate is a tax.

    • Dimsdale
      Dimsdale says:

      Yes, the individual mandate on its own is not a tax per se, but I think when all is said and done, and all the little “goodies” like the mortgage surtax, medical equipment taxes etc. are added up, you will be looking at a massive amount of taxes, ones that will invariably increase as time goes on, or the government makes decisions about care that they currently assign to insurance companies.??
      It is one thing to be taxed for choosing to do something or buy something, but quite another to be taxed for NOT doing something.? A radio host made an excellent example: you go into a store and look around, and then to choose not to make a purchase, and as you walk out, the store clerk “penalizes” you with a $5 charge.? It really is no different.
      Frankly, if the mandate is associated with being a tax, it is all to the good, and poetic justice for Dems that reflexively make false associations, like all Republicans are bigots etc.

  13. sammy22
    sammy22 says:

    Arguing with the decision of the conservative Chief Justice of the Supreme Court seems futile, at least tome.

    • Tim-in-Alabama
      Tim-in-Alabama says:

      You’re right. It’s hard to argue with something that doesn’t make sense. If I were to chose not to buy a government sanctioned health insurance policy, I’d be taxed on nothing and for nothing.

    • Dimsdale
      Dimsdale says:

      The only ones arguing with the decision are the Democrats insisting the mandate is a penalty.?? The decision came down to if it is a penalty, it is unconstitutional; if it is a tax, it is constitutional.? The Dems don’t want it to be a tax, but want it to be constitutional.
      Eating your cake and having it etc….

    • Dimsdale
      Dimsdale says:

      We can’t “repeal” them; we can repeal the Dem toadies and ?bama.
      Let us do so with all due haste.

  14. TexasDB
    TexasDB says:

    Apparently a quip from Benjamin Franklin is justification that Congress’ power to tax exceeds an individual’s choice of inaction:
    Pg 41-42:
    …it is abundantly clear the?Constitution does not gaurantee that individuals may avoid taxation through inactivity.?… But from its creation the Constitution has made no such promise with respect to taxes.? See Letter from Benjamin Franklin to M. Le Roy (Nov. 13, 1789)(“Our new Constitution is now established…but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”).
    Uh-huh.? And since Abraham Lincoln was a?vampire?slayer do we all have the?right to bear wood stakes and can the Congress impose a garlic tax?

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