The oft-repeated statement that ‘ACA is Constitutional’ is a broad-sweeping and erroneous rationalization that ObamaCare is the ‘law of the land’—far from it. The Supreme Court ruled on only one very small (albeit pivotal) point in Obama’s Affordable Care Act, as reported by New York Times’, Adam Liptak, “The Supreme Court … upheld President Obama’s health care overhaul law, saying its requirement that most Americans obtain insurance or pay a penalty was authorized by Congress’s power to levy taxes.” With over 2,000 pages and still growing, plus another 70,000 pages (and growing) accompanying legislation, departmental regulations and rules; and in spite of the writer’s misleading assertion to the contrary, ACA is far from passing Constitutional muster on an overwhelming portion of its legislation.
Chief Justice Roberts wrote in the majority opinion, “The Affordable Care Act’s requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax. Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness.”
A penalty is a tax and Congress is in charge of taxing, so the Supreme Court cannot ‘forbid it’. There is so much wrong with that statement, it boggles the mind. Let’s take his statement point-by-point: “The Affordable Care Act’s requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty…” Penalty: a punishment imposed for breaking a law, rule, or contract. If the law says you have to buy something and you fail to do so, you pay a fine. Is there any precedence for a law that requires anyone to buy anything within the normal course of their life? If you choose to own and drive a car, it is generally agreed that you must buy insurance. But if you choose not to own or drive a car, as millions do, you are not required to pay a penalty for not owning insurance.
“…for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax.” Tax: a compulsory contribution to state revenue levied by the government on workers' income and business profits or added to the cost of some goods, services, and transactions. By what, or whose reason does a penalty equate to a tax? Here is where Roberts’ determination falls under much conjecture. Is he nuts? Did he accept a bribe? Was his family kidnapped? What would make a man of seemingly superior intellect suddenly make such an illogical statement? A penalty is to a tax, what a shoe is to a hat. In the latter, they are both articles of clothing; in the former, they both come out of your pocket. Otherwise they are totally different; not interchangeable in any practical application. We don’t need a man in a black robe to contort and obfuscate commonly accepted definitions. He should be clarifying and distinguishing these points.
“Because the Constitution permits such a tax,” exactly where in the Constitution, Chief Roberts, does the Constitution specifically PERMIT a tax/penalty upon individuals for NOT buying a particular product?
” … it is not our role to forbid it,” is an astute overstatement of the obvious. Exactly, what is the role of the Supreme Court, Mr. Roberts? According to Scholastic: “[The Supreme Court] can tell a President that his actions are not allowed by the Constitution. It can tell Congress that a law it passed violated the U.S. Constitution and is, therefore, no longer a law. It can also tell the government of a state that one of its laws breaks a rule in the Constitution.”
Even if the Constitution tells a president he cannot sign a specific bill into law, does not mean he cannot do it. It does, however, give us official justification to ignore it. And because of his Oath of Office, the president is duty-bound to honor the limitations of the Constitution. However, if he chooses not to, there is apparently no penalty.
Scholastic: “The Supreme Court is the final judge in all cases involving laws of Congress, and the highest law of all — the Constitution.” The Supreme Court does not FORBID anything. It does not have that authority. That’s the job of the Constitution, and it is the President’s and Congress’s duty to obey the Constitution.
“…or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness.” This last comment is most curious. Why did Chief Justice Roberts end his decision with this phrase? Is he questioning the ‘wisdom or fairness’ of the ‘penalty/tax’? Or is he implying there is no wisdom or fairness in applying this law? Forcing someone to buy something they do not wish to buy violates every principle upon which our Constitution and Republic are based. We don’t need a supreme court to stipulate otherwise, or twist definitions to meet an unspecified ideological agenda. We just know in our gut, and in our heart, it’s not right.