On its face, Chief Justice John Roberts’ Obamacare decision was a strange bird.
A mandate to purchase a product from a private company under penalty for non-compliance, which did not purport to be a revenue measure and which was enacted politically only because it was not a tax, was sustained on the very basis that it was a tax.
If so, the mandate was the strangest tax in memory, one enacted for the purpose that it not be collected since the purpose was to compel a private transaction which itself would not be taxed. If the mandate worked as designed, the Treasury would not have seen a penny out of it.
CBS News reports that Roberts initially sided with Kennedy, Scalia, Alito and Thomas in striking Obamacare in its entirety, but moved away from that position in May as the pressure campaign to delegitimize the “Roberts court” mounted among Democratic politicians and liberal media outlets, should Obamacare or even the mandate be held unconstitutional. The article notes Roberts’ awareness of the campaign but quotes sources as saying he did not give in to the pressure.
Whatever. There is and will be plenty of time for recrimination and court leaks/gossip.
As tempting as it is to lash out at Roberts or to bemoan the fact that we did not scream as loudly as Democrats and the mainstream media to our constitutional detriment, I think there is a deeper feeling which transcends the why’s of Roberts’ decision.
The sense of abandonment by the policies of the Bush administration was a key if not the key motivating force behind the rise of the Tea Party movement.
And now the crowning glory of the Bush judicial appointment program abandoned us for reasons about which we can speculate, but which constitute an abdication of responsibility regardless of motive.
That’s my sense of where we are right now.
Alone again, naturally.