Many conservatives were convinced that yesterday we would see the US Supreme Court strike down what we know is a massive expansion of the federal government and an unconstitutional use of federal power. Unfortunately, things didn’t quite turn out as we had hoped. While there were not 5 votes to allow Congress to use the commerce clause to force individuals to buy health insurance, Chief Justice Roberts voted with Justices Breyer, Ginsberg, Kagan, and Sotomayor to uphold the law on the grounds that Congress does have the power to tax and that requiring an individual to pay a tax for refusing to purchase health insurance is consistent with that power. A copy of the ruling can be found here.
There were only two small victories (if you want to call them that) for conservatives: 1) the individual mandate was not upheld under the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution limiting (albeit to a small extent) Congressional power to regulate economic activity; and 2) attempts to force states to expand Medicaid by threatening to withhold all Medicaid funds from states that refused to comply was ruled unconstitutional. Under today’s ruling, states can choose to expand Medicaid programs and get extra money from Congress to pay for part of that expansion, but if they choose not to expand Medicaid, they cannot be denied existing Medicaid funds. This is extremely important to Alabama where our state General Fund budget is already in shambles due to the high costs of Medicaid. If this provision had been upheld, it would have made an already bad situation much, much worse.
So what lesson can we take away from today’s ruling? First and foremost, we cannot count on the US Supreme Court to save us from ourselves. This ruling makes the November election more important than ever before because it will literally determine the fate of our country. For those of us who believe the country is headed in the wrong direction, it is vital to the future of our nation that we participate–along with working ourselves we should also encourage others to help get candidates elected who share a constitutional worldview and once these candidates are elected, do everything in your power to make sure they stick to their philosophy. We must help elect a president who will appoint judges with a strict constructionist judicial philosophy. Finally, we MUST hold these candidates accountable and let them know we will support them when they do the right thing.
The real loser yesterday was not Republicans or Conservatives or the Tea Party (no matter what the media says), the real loser yesterday was the United States of America and liberty as we know it. We cannot forget that and we MUST fight back.
More good resources on today’s Supreme Court ruling can be found here:
Analysis by Richard Epstein: http://www.scotusblog.com/2012/06/taxation-and-regulation-under-the-health-care-act/
Cato Institute Video Analysis of Ruling: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMkg0y4vakM
On the Medicaid Provision: http://www.scotusblog.com/2012/06/court-holds-that-states-have-choice-whether-to-join-medicaid-expansion/
ALEC Guide to Repealing Obamacare: http://www.alec.org/publications/the-state-legislators-guide-to-repealing-obamacare/