Why, Roberts, WHY?!? An Explanation for Roberts’ Obamacare Vote
It’s important to note that Roberts, knowing that Kennedy was going to go over to the dark side, switched his vote for tactical purposes.
This is because the Chief Justice has prerogative to write the majority opinion, so he writes it. This is commonly done so that the more liberal members cannot use the majority opinion to write in new powers, etc.
Essentially Roberts did this to reign in any possible abuses, so he basically, from what I can see, just said this was a tax, but that the government didn’t have authority to force you to do things, [only] to tax. He limited the government’s reach, whereas if Kennedy or *GASP* Kagan had written the majority opinion, they might have given the government almost plenipotentiary powers.
Ok. That calms me down a bit. Addendum: By “dark side”, the writer meant our side, as a joke. A lot of people are confusing this. Apologies.
Addendum: Roberts would have written the majority opinion if he had voted against the law too. So, the explanation only works if he thought it would have passed without his vote, or if it was going to go down by more than one vote.
From my pirate-ninja homie.
And another good point:
“if its a tax, its easier to repeal, because we dont need to face a filibuster…” – from the Coffee and Markets live-podcasting
— el SOOPer (@SooperMexican) June 28, 2012
…the Court held that the provision is constitutional as long as states would only lose new funds if they didn’t comply with the new requirements, rather than all of their funding.
Again, very important… this takes away some of the blackmailing power of the government…
Essentially, a majority of the Court has accepted the Administration’s backup argument that, as Roberts put it, “the mandate can be regarded as establishing a condition — not owning health insurance — that triggers a tax — the required payment to IRS.” Actually, this was the Administration’s second backup argument: first argument was Commerce Clause, second was Necessary and Proper Clause, and third was as a tax. The third argument won.
More from SCOTUSBLOG:
Lyle: The rejection of the Commerce Clause and Nec. and Proper Clause should be understood as a major blow to Congress’s authority to pass social welfare laws. Using the tax code — especially in the current political environment — to promote social welfare is going to be a very chancy proposition.Amy Howe: By the way, the opinions collectively are a monster. The Chief’s opinion is 59 pages, Justice Ginsburg’s opinion is 61 pages, the four dissenters are 65 pages, followed by a short two-pager from Justice Thomas.
From the beginning of the Chief’s opinion: “We do not consider whether the Act embodies sound policies. That judgment is entrusted to the Nation’s elected leaders. We ask only whether Congress has the power under the Constitution to enact the challenged provisions.”
Here is the money quote on the fifth vote to hold that the mandate is not justified under the Commerce Clause (recognizing that doesn’t matter because there were five votes under the Tax Power): “The power to regulate commerce presupposes the existence of commercial activity to be regulated.” That will not affect a lot of statutes going forward.
Salvaging the idea that Congress did have the power to try to expand health care to virtually all Americans, the Supreme Court on Monday upheld the constitutionality of the crucial – and most controversial — feature of the Affordable Care Act. By a vote of 5-4, however, the Court did not sustain it as a command for Americans to buy insurance, but as a tax if they don’t. That is the way Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., was willing to vote for it, and his view prevailed. The other Justices split 4-4, with four wanting to uphold it as a mandate, and four opposed to it in any form.