May as well write the inevitable post …

June 28, 2012 at 6:03 pm (Icepick)

… about the Supreme Court ruling today.

So, the SCOTUS has ruled that PPACA (ObamaCare) is legal in almost every particular. Specifically, they ruled that the individual mandate is legal because it is a tax. They ruled against the individual mandate on Commerce Clause grounds, but since it is a tax that doesn’t matter. Simplified (probably overly so)*, Congress cannot make you buy health insurance under the Commerce Clause. However, they CAN tax the living hell out of you and let the IRS ream you until you die of sepsis unless you do – just so long as they call the penalty a tax.

Thus they say it is constitutional. Or rather, five of them say it is. The deciding vote was not Kennedy, but Roberts. It should not come as a surprise that a man appointed by a President who believed in ever-expanding powers of government in general (and of the Presidency in particular) ruled in favor of ever-expanding government intervention. The surprise is that Alito did NOT so rule. No doubt the Bush Family is disappointed in Alito, but you will recall that he was not their first choice for that position. And once again Bush pulls ahead of Obama in the race for the title of Worst President Ever.

Some are making a case that this is a partial victory for conservative leaning folks, as Roberts’ opinion limits Congress’s powers with regards to use of the Commerce Clause and spending powers. But that is grasping at straws and also bullshit. What Roberts’ sophistry does is show Congress how to enact almost anything without having to go looking for the authority somewhere in the Constitution. Just follow Roberts’ reasoning in this decision, and there won’t even be any point in taking the matter to court.

I have seen in argued that The People will limit Congress in this matter, as The People hate new taxes. The only problem with that is that The People had the wool pulled over their eyes this time, and there is no reason to think The People will be any less stupid the next time around.

At this point in time, Congress can now force Americans to do anything they can pass through Congress (just call the penalty for NOT doing the thing a tax, and sick IRS agents on anyone that doesn’t comply), and the President now has the power to assassinate American citizens anywhere at his whim, with no recourse for the doomed.

We owe a collective apology, much belated, to the ghost of George III.

* Via Althouse, more about the case:

In III-B, Roberts tells us that we need to shift from thinking about the individual mandate “as ordering individuals to buy insurance, but rather as imposing a tax on those who do not buy that product.”

The quotes indicate Roberts wording in the opinion. So I didn’t oversimplify at all.


  1. karen said,

    Well, the state lawmakers(Libs)love the ruling. One more step toward single payer for Shumlin. Bernie is ecstatic.

    The comment i heard when we found out(in a small cafe in Derby line-)was that the jails were sure going to fill up now. Maybe they’ll just get shot, eh ice?

    Hurt my heart to hear you say W is the worst. Yet, all opinions don’t have to be mine:0). Just glad to see the post- better than the zombie one- those freak me out.

  2. karen said,

    @ least there is this…

    “The House of Representatives on Thursday voted to hold Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in contempt…”
    “… for failing to disclose internal Justice Department documents in response to a subpoena.” Althouse.

  3. Icepick said,

    From the NYT on the Holder vote:

    The vote – 255 to 67, with one member voting present – followed an acrimonious and politically charged debate.

    I assume the person voting present was some sort of joker….

  4. mockturtle said,

    At least they ruled that the states cannot be extorted into compliance with the mandate by depriving them of their regular Medicaid funds. Small victory, maybe, but it may loom large in the future.

  5. Icepick said,

    MT, that will be easily surmounted. Basically, the feds can’t make states do something new for an old program under threat of cancellation of federal funds. The solution will be to end the old programs, institute new programs and funding that are just like the old programs but for the desired new provision and move on. They can even rebrand the old programs as “New and Improved”!

  6. Icepick said,

    Karen, I’d much rather blog about anything BUT this stuff. In fact, I’d like to write a post on the wonders of the 2CV, but zombies, politics and cats keep getting in the way.

    (I have a short cat post I want to make, because I’m that guy now, but I can’t figure out how to get the picture to upload in WordPress.)

  7. amba12 said,

    I want you to make your cat posts on Purr View, or at least cross-post them there.

  8. Icepick said,

    Okay. This one is a picture in search of a caption. I suspect that if I use Mozilla I won’t have the problem posting the picture. I’ll test that theory after I get the daughter down for the night (I’ve got her up late for a reason) and eat dinner.

  9. lh said,

    Oh, bloody hell, Icepick. It’s tossing it back to where it belongs. If there’s a problem with that, then–well, that’s the exact spot where that bloody thing ought be picked over and disposed of, g*d d*** it. I mean: What the hell?

  10. lh said,

    But–hey, why not?–in keeping with the general zeitgeist, let’s just do this instead: Sing, sing a song. Sing it loud! And by God, strong.

  11. Icepick said,

    lh, I don’t follow your comment.

  12. karen said,

    Me either, but i just snort-laughed- so that makes it really funny(to me).

    Her name in th…. OH(lightbulb), maybe just back to the states, where it belongs to be taken apart and maybe actually READ and if the people screw it all up(like Liberal VT will)then, i guess we deserve it.

    * It= this garbage heap of a Care Act. “Care” subject to o-so-many
    degrees of interpretation!

  13. karen said,

    Wow- went to Althouse, watched a vid of something there(erad the bill after we pass it, i think)clicked on Mark Levine vid on the last frame, where we can just keep watching new videos, to hear him on Pelosi and – it’s all in what he says. Only, he’s a sarcastic knife.

  14. mockturtle said,

    I’ve started reading his [Levin’s] latest book [a gift from SIL], Ameritopia. So far, it’s kind of a rehash of philosophy readings from high school but, then, there are probably a lot of younger folk who never had to read Plato’s Republic, etc., so it bears review. Progressives are still trying to build that elusive utopia with the same tired results.

  15. wj said,

    It rather amazes me that conservatives (at least those who hate the ACA) are focusing their attention on the mandate (aka tax) being Constitutional. And paying no attention to the drastic change in what the Supreme Court says the Commerce Clause allows the Congress to do.

    If the Court pays any attention to the precedent it just set (and it tends to, at least in the short run), a huge number of existing Federal programs and restrictions are now open to challenge. Most of them things that those same conservatives dislike (at least). So why not more “glass half full” comments? Can they really be that unhappy that Obama got a “win” on anything that they don’t care that they just got a huge win on something that they didn’t even realize ahead of time was even inplay?

  16. mockturtle said,

    Good point. My SIL believes it was a clever and calculated coup by Roberts.

  17. Icepick said,

    wj, Roberts could have accomplished all of that WITHOUT creating a new loophole that makes the Commerce Clause easily avoided in the future. He took down one loophole and exchanged it for one that was about ten times bigger.

    All of this is just the insiders (typically lawyers and operatives) trying to tell the rubes (that would be us) that they didn’t really just get fucked in the ass by making the constitution meaningless. Now any Congress can pass any law it wants simply by making the penalties for non-compliance a tax. There is no end to what they can do with that.

  18. mockturtle said,

    What we need to do is enforce penalties for public officials who have sworn to support the Constitution of the United States when they [almost always] fail to do so. And the penalty would not be a tax. Impeachment and loss of all benefits would seem appropriate.

    But since ‘separation of powers’ has been largely illusory for over a century, that’s not likely to happen.

  19. mockturtle said,

    Uphold, not ‘support’. There is a difference.

  20. Icepick said,

    MT, elected officials in particular should not get benefits.

  21. karen said,

    What does it mean when Congress votes to hold the AG in contempt, but the DOJ says– ~Nahhh~ cause he didn’t do anything criminal? Isn’t that an over reach of powers, or some term that’s prejudiced?

  22. mockturtle said,

    I’d say it’s the proverbial fox guarding the hen house. How can the DOJ rule on something concerning the AG?

  23. Icepick said,

    I’d say that AG is the job to have.

  24. mockturtle said,

    I’ve been desperately trying to remember a clean and competent USAG in my lifetime and couldn’t come up with one. Anyone?

  25. Icepick said,

    What, not John Mitchel?!!?


  26. lh said,


    To clarify, as requested:

    We the people have got the representatives we deserve (by omission or by commission, or both, in terms of voting and/or otherwise). It’s up to us to fix that if we don’t like it. Democracy can be hard; effective civic engagement harder; and maintaining a republic even harder (especially to the degree that doing so requires a number of hard things at the very same time).

    : )

  27. Icepick said,

    lh, okay, that I understand. We the People have failed miserably. That said, the politicians and our other elites deserve a goodly portion of blame as well.

  28. mockturtle said,

    We the people have failed miserably through apathy and ignorance. However, I have been politically involved throughout most of my adult life and have found both parties to be corrupt to the core, or at least at the core. IMHO, unless we take seriously the need for new parties with new leadership, nothing is going to change. Hate to by cynical but that’s the picture.

  29. mockturtle said,

    be cynical, not by….haste makes waste. :-\

  30. lh said,

    Yeah, well, what I think is that the likes of me and you and we ought to be getting involved in local politics, however weird and intimidating and horrifying that might be. Because that’s how engagement that matters starts to drip up w/r/t to politics power, in times where it most counts.

    Hey, Icepick, mockturtle, karen, wj and amba [et al]–are you with me?

    Can I get a witness?

    : )

  31. mockturtle said,

    I’m currently a candidate for PCO and am involved in county and state issues. My principal complaint is that I have to work through a political party. Because both parties use a ‘my way or the highway’ form of coercion, this has severe limitations. I am a major proponent of decentralizing government and my emphasis is on increased involvement and control at the local, county and state levels. In other words, a return to Constitutional government.

    Since the party I am representing on the ballot is the Republican party, I am forced to deal with a ‘dump Obama’ mentality, even at the county level. Dumping Obama is the least of our concerns, IMHO. The money and power concentrated at the federal level will never be willingly relinquished and the goal of Congress will continue to be re-election and more power.

  32. karen said,

    I witness to your direct& correct thinking, Ih, but am not remotely inclined to jump into that kind of position– even if it were school board(to which no one would vote for me as i send our kids to a private, Catholic school). I am disgusted w/the personal politics involved- it’s a cesspool of nepotism!

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