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CBS: Conservatives on Sup Ct feel betrayed (welcome to the club)

CBS: Conservatives on Sup Ct feel betrayed (welcome to the club)

Via Jan Crawford, who previously broke the story about Chief Justice Roberts’ change of mind, comes additional details, Discord at Supreme Court is deep, and personal:

Discord at the Supreme Court is deep and personal after Chief Justice John Roberts’ surprise decision to side with the liberal justices in upholding a large portion of the president’s health care plan. This discord is going to affect this Court for a long time – and no one has any idea how it will be resolved.

Conservatives feel a sense of betrayal. They feel that Roberts changed his mind for the wrong reasons.

If Roberts had been with the liberals from the beginning, sources tell me that would have been one thing; but switching his position – and relatively late in the process – infuriated the conservatives….

It’s not unheard of for the Court to erupt into conflict; Bush v. Gore in 2000 was a famous example. But some people say you would have to go back nearly 70 years to see this kind of tension, and almost bitterness, that now exists among the justices.

I always thought an Obama victory on Obamacare would backfire. But that’s when the loss was along expected lines, with Kennedy as the swing vote. That would have been an expected loss.

But for Roberts to be the swing vote, and to have done it in this manner with a relatively late switch, is demoralizing. I think we’ve felt that sense of betrayal in the past 10 days.

I wonder if that sense of betrayal is why some conservative commentators have turned so negative on the presidential race — they’re taking their frustrations out on Romney.


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I’m of the suspicion that Roberts arm was twisted by the Obamachine to let ACA stand. The whole “mandate is unconstitutional but as a tax it’s ok” was his passive-aggressive rebellion against the OverlOrd.

Not to get all psychological on you, Prof., but…

cognitive dissonance is a powerful thing. We knew what the Constitution said…and we knew what the ruling should be.

Was anybody here surprised by the oral arguments, or the arguments in the briefing? I doubt it. We are Conservatives, after all.

Collectivists were gob-smacked, conversely, by the arguments, and…more…that anybody was taking them seriously.

EVERYBODY knew the trajectory of the Commerce Clause Unlimited. It was going down.

Then Roberts pulled this stunt, rewriting the law (when a cannon of judicial interpretation is to give effect to the plain meaning of the words), and pulling this Taxing Power Unlimited locomotive out of his butt.

People are dazed and confused…and depressed. That will last a while. Everybody has had a hard time accommodating this new “reality”, partly because it is so bizarre.

What will the effect be of having a nest of pissed off Supremes? Will it be a net good or net bad thing?

Dunno. It does make for an interesting time. But our job is to get our heads back up, and push to beat every Collectivist running for office, be good people, raise our families, etc.

jimzinsocal | July 9, 2012 at 9:24 am

I can only speak for myself but I find Im able to separate the two things…Romney and SCOTUS. And personally the more important is the Romney campaign. The SCOTUS stuff is all academic for me and Congress can and will deal with the issues.
But I also like to win. So we turn attention to Romney and see a guy that doesnt seem to be getting his message out clearly. Or with strength.
He has/had a golden opportunity with the latest economic stuff to land a haymaker on Obama. Obama is defenseless.
So lets see what Romney does this week. Maybe he’ll put on the gloves/take them off and actually go toe to toe with Obama.

    ThomasD in reply to jimzinsocal. | July 9, 2012 at 9:57 am

    I don’t think the pundits are using Romney as a surrogate for Roberts. More that the Roberts decision has raised the stakes so much that they are starting to take a harder look at ‘Mr. Inevitable’ and are recognizing what was painfully obvious to some during the primaries.

    Romney is not going to go hammer and tongs against Obama. He’s not going to unleash his PACs to do a bunch of attacks against Obama. The Romney camp had no trouble going after people in the primaries because they truly perceived them as wrongheaded partisans whose principles and beliefs were different from his. It was ideological as much as practical.

    Now, it’s purely practical. Obama’s not bad, or ideologically twisted, he’s just an inept executive. Romney won’t go against Obama on any sort of fundamental principles, because Romney has trouble sounding authentic even when he is being Romney, much less when he is trying to sound all Reagan, someone he is constitutionally not.

    Those pundits better get use to disappointment. My advice to them, seeing as how so many were instrumental in giving us Romney in the first place, is to go crawl under a rock and stay there, we’ve heard enough from the likes of you.

I’m really puzzled by Roberts’ votes on both the Arizona question and obamacare. I fail to understand his reasoning on both. It seesm as if he has gone over to the dark side and to h*ll with the wishes of the people and the rules of the Constitution. Or does the obama asdministration have something on Roberts…maybe unsealing his children’s adoption records or something similar. It could even be traced to his brain convulstion a few years back. However, it is more than likely desire for membership in the cocktail circuit in DC as usual.

I think the Professor is on to something. Before the Supreme Court decision, I thought it was fairly certain the Republicans would win this November no matter what. Now I feel like after the slam dunk elimination of Obamacare was swept out from under us by one of our own. Suddenly, I’ve lost hope in just about everything. (Whatever the Constitutionally “right” thing to do may have been, Roberts has taken on the responsibility of all those who die prematurely, suffer longer, and all the wealth that is lost due to this bill’s effects.)

As for Romney attacking Obama, here’s an optimistic thought. We all know there are tons of ways to hit Obama that would be extremely effective and Romney’s not using. But there’s also the issues of our ultra-short news cycle and eventual fatigue of the electorate. If Romney brought out the big guns now, he may run the risk of using them up and the electorate tuning out, branding them as old news by the time it really matters. Meanwhile, Obama has already thrown everything he’s got at Romney. There is the risk that the Bain stuff sticks and people make their minds up before Romney attacks, but I hope that Romney is planning to really tear Obama a new one after the whole electorate tunes in. That may be giving him too much credit, but optimism is at a premium these days.

    It seems I have friends in high places, Jay Cost came to the same conclusion as me.


    “Romney will have an opportunity to define himself. Team Obama has run hard against Mitt Romney in the swing states for outsourcing jobs, offshore bank accounts, and the like. Team Romney has been notably silent, not committing resources to rebut these charges. One reason might be that the charges are not resonating. Importantly, a new Gallup poll of the swing states shows no statistically significant change in the preferences of registered voters since early May.

    It is important to remember that Team Romney will use the Republican National Convention to introduce him to the public. Of course, the Bain attacks are eventually going to damage his reputation, at least a little bit – but Romney has a solid and compelling story to tell. He saved the Olympics. He was a pragmatic governor in deep blue Massachusetts. He’s a loyal family man. And so on. Voters are going to have all the facts about Romney come November – the positive and the negative.

    It makes sense for Romney to hold off until the Republican convention to do that, as that will be the time when voters start becoming engaged. By the same token, it is not at all clear that Team Obama is making the right choice to go after Romney so early. If voters are not paying much attention, these attacks might be played out by the fall without ever having had their full effect. Again, the Gallup poll suggests that they have not made much of an impact just yet, and so also does Team Romney’s silence. If the campaign thought the Obama ads were having an impact in Ohio, for instance, they’d surely be on the air responding to them.”

      MaggotAtBroadAndWall in reply to mikehinton. | July 9, 2012 at 10:54 am

      I respect Jay Cost a LOT, but I think he has this one wrong.

      Obama is running a lot of ads in the swing states to negatively define Romney. It will only show up in the polls AFTER the ads have successfully shaped public opinion. And at that point it is going to be awfully hard for Romney to change perceptions. I’m thinking about the cliche, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression”.

        In trial advocacy they teach “primacy and recency”.

        Yeah, it is good to make an impression first.

        But it is sometimes BETTER to leave the last impression.

          MaggotAtBroadAndWall in reply to Ragspierre. | July 9, 2012 at 11:52 am

          Good point. But when you consider HOW Axelrod is negatively defining Romney – as a guy with “secretive Swiss bank accounts” and who “shipped jobs overseas” – those are perceptions that will probably stick because they are simple to understand. And who has a positive view of “secret and mysterious Swiss bank accounts” and tycoons “shipping jobs overseas”?

          I believe Romney is making a serious strategic error by not offering a counter-narrative before the perceptions Axelrod is trying create solidify into a permanent negative.

          We’ll see.

      ThomasD in reply to mikehinton. | July 9, 2012 at 12:03 pm

      “It is important to remember that Team Romney will use the Republican National Convention to introduce him to the public.”

      Given the predilections of the MSM, and their ability to ignore or flat out bury anything they don’t want you to see, that strategy will go over as well as it did for McCain.

I sincerely doubt whether Conservatives are ever going to find Romney conservative enough to suit them. Romney is conservative as compared to… what? Simply being right of Obama seems to be good enough for some folks. The real question I have is whether Romney would advance any conservative agenda at all WITHOUT receiving an unrelenting assault from conservatives. If he only leans right under intense pressure this is going to be an ugly marriage at best.

    Ragspierre in reply to Merlin. | July 9, 2012 at 10:15 am

    ‘The Hill Poll found an overwhelming majority of voters — 89 percent — view the choice between Obama and Romney as important in terms of the future impact on the country.’

    That a “likely voter” poll. People see a clear distinction. It is OUR job to push ALL our candidates in the right direct.

    The days of “Let Ike Do It” went out with the Packard.

    tiger66 in reply to Merlin. | July 9, 2012 at 11:01 am

    I’m a conservative, but I don’t think we need a “conservative agenda” from Romney right now. I think we need a “United States of America agenda” from Romney, not a U.S.-as-Europe agenda like the incumbent.

    Let’s acknowledge the problems and start fixing the problems. Time for the “conservative agenda” later. When you’re up to your ass in alligators, it’s hard to remember that your job is to drain the swamp.

      votermom in reply to tiger66. | July 9, 2012 at 11:42 am

      I think we need a “United States of America agenda”

      ITA. I was just thinking about how we desperately need a President for All Americans right now, instead of the Scapegoater-in-Chief we have.

      stevewhitemd in reply to tiger66. | July 9, 2012 at 2:07 pm

      An American agenda sounds good.

      Mr. Romney, should he win, will need a Republican Senate to get his nominees through. He’ll need a Republican House with a hefty dose of Tea Party Pubs to ensure that the American agenda goes forward. I don’t see the country-club Pubs doing much to help out.

CatoRenasci | July 9, 2012 at 10:39 am

To my mind, the think we should be worried about now is whether our justifiable outrage with Roberts, and that of his conservative colleagues on the Supreme Court, will drive him into the arms of the liberals, making him a reliable 5th vote for all of the major cases. This is a real risk, and I think a serious outreach to Roberts, as hard as it is to swallow, is imperative.

    Ragspierre in reply to CatoRenasci. | July 9, 2012 at 10:46 am

    At this point, I’ll trade you Roberts for Kennedy…especially a Kennedy with his Irish up.

    ThomasD in reply to CatoRenasci. | July 9, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Admitting Roberts has gone political, and then playing to that conviction, is an absolute loser of an approach, particularly if he is going to be ‘swayed’ back towards a conservative/originalist/intentionalist (what Scalia calls textual) approach to the Constitution.

    Roberts is not dumb, he’ll recognize that he’s being courted in political fashion, and he’ll either be offended at the implication or he’ll view those approaching him as the ones who have gone overtly political.

    The only way Roberts comes back is if he finds his own way ‘back.’ That’s why the leaks have been all about letting him know how the other justices feel he has betrayed his principles not his allies.

All the preceeding comments have merit. l will only throw in , do we see & fear Romney in Roberts. Someone whom we work hard to get into an office with murky credentials who once in place “works with the other side” & sells us down the river on key issues. Tom Brokaw & Charlie Rose famously didnt know who Barak Obama is but they did know he was a lefty. We cant say we know who Mitt Romney is but we do know at best he is a soft conservative. We should be in this fray with gusto. lnstead the party once again give us a nominee that fills us with troubling doubts. Now the Roberts fiasco lends credance to our concern.

Henry Hawkins | July 9, 2012 at 11:08 am

What Roberts has done is to move the Supreme Court into the set of government institutions that is no longer reliable or predictable.

What will Obamacare do to us? Who knows?

What taxes are coming our way? Who knows?

What regulations should we plan for? Who knows?

And now… how might the Supreme Court rule on a given issue?

Who knows?

Call it the Obama Uncertainty Principle

More voters will be voting against Obama than for Romney.

Therefore, in some circles it doesn’t matter what either of the candidates say. The die has already been cast in many
voters minds.

    ThomasD in reply to Amjean. | July 9, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    The only fly in that ointment is that many of those who are ‘against Obama’ will also be non-voters. Ron Paul’s supporters are a prime example of this. No matter how much they loathe Obama they view Romney as not remotely pure enough to get their vote, and they will sit this election out.

    Although the psychodynamic is different the same effect will be seen with the minority vote. They will not vote for Obama in the same numbers they did last time.

    All of which makes it essential for both candidates to play to their base all the way through the election (Obama already gets that, Romney thinks he’s already done enough.)

    This election is not going to be decided by the undecideds, it is going to be decided by intensity of support among those already aligned.

jimzinsocal | July 9, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Great. Just came home and Obama on the tube getting mileage out of extending Bush Tax cuts. If your economic policies havent worked? Then bring up something else. Paint youraself as the tax hero. And of course the Obama pilot fish at NPR inject that Romney wants the cits to extend to the rich….not the simple statement..leave the tax cuts as they are. Net? Romney doesnt get the narritive or talking point. Now hes forced to thread the needle and explain to JohnQaverageamerican why it makes sense to include the rich in the tax cuts.
A smart guy..from the Gingrich mold, would congradulate the President for realizing the value in this Republican iniative. Ill tell ya all something. Ive seen better responses to stuff right here at this place..reasoned and good tactical responses to things that go unvocalized by Romney.
But you know. We gotta keep plugging.

I’m disappointed that obama and the media have successfully corrupted the meaning of ‘activist judge’. The term specifically refers to constitutional intent. They’ve redefined it to mean overturning congressional laws, or something.

A story with no named sources is no story, PERIOD.

Back when there was still a shred of integrity in the news business, no responsible editor for a respectable publication would think of running a story based solely on anonymous sources. Someone has to confirm their leaks on the record, or it doesn’t run.

But all my conservative friends are welcome to believe all these unsourced SCOTUS stories CBS is feeing you – because, after all, they’ve always been so honest with you in the past, right?

Subotai Bahadur | July 9, 2012 at 3:18 pm

Professor, with all due respect, it is rational for Conservatives to be angry, feel betrayed, and have absolutely no trust in the political system anymore. Look at what we have just seen. A supposedly Conservative Supreme Court Chief Justice just ignored the law, the Constitution, and the rules of legislative construction to flip-flop to give not only victory to the Tyrant; but also to void ALL the protections of the Constitution. He did it so blatantly and politically, that he infuriated Kennedy who is a reliable vote for state power over the individual.

By inventing the doctrine that the government can compel any behavior, regardless of whether it is within the enumerated constitutional powers of the government; simply by defining the force of compulsion as a tax that has the penalty of property confiscation and imprisonment behind it, there are no more protections for the people left in the Constitution.

Combine that with the acceptance of rule by Executive Orders that create, amend, or abolish law at will, and the denial of oversight by Congress; and we live in a dictatorship. Right now, we have Big Brother’s smile. The sharp edge of his teeth will be revealed someday.

Combine this realization amongst at least some thinkers with what ThomasD on July 9, 2012 at 9:57 am said, and you approximate reality. I do take issue with one sentence of his:

Obama’s not bad, or ideologically twisted, he’s just an inept executive.

There has been such a consistency of purpose and effect in the destruction of the rule of law, the Constitution, the economy, and our geo-political standing under the rule of Buraq Hussein; that it has to be deliberate. If it was accidental or incompetence, at least by pure random chance he would do something that was at least neutral in effect.

Our constitutional system, or more accurately a critical mass of those sworn to uphold it; has proven unequal to the challenge of a political party, media, and cabal of individuals who were bent on subverting it.

The supposed “opposition” in Congress has failed in its most basic duty of maintaining the power of the purse. They have failed in their constitutionally mandated duty of oversight for the last 3 1/2 years. And now it may be too late.

The Courts have become by nature a tool to protect the Political Class, regardless of party; but especially the Left. Gnats are strained at, and camels routinely swallowed in efforts to avoid making rulings that offend power. Getting standing to file against the government, even against blatant violations of the law, is more of a battle than the fight in court. With the replacement of the theoretically limited-by-enumerated-powers ability to “mandate” by an unlimited power to mandate anything by tax and prison; the courts have given the other two branches absolute carte blanche.

We are in an entirely different governing paradigm than most people suppose. One that is more common on other continents than our own, but which would be recognizable within the lifetimes of those now living in Eurasia.

Willard Mitt Romney is not by any means the choice of those who wish to preserve a constitutional system. Rather, his personal supporters are those who have acquiesced in what is happening and are more hostile to Conservatives than Democrats; the Institutionals.

Sitting back and observing Buraq Hussein Obama, noting that from the moment he took office that “I Won” superceded law, custom, or protocol, and noting the polling indicators; how many can be absolutely sure that there will be free, fair, and honest elections in November? How many can really believe that the media would do other than cover for it? How many can have the confidence that we had 4 years ago that either the Institutional Republicans or the courts would make other than pro forma objections?

Once you are forced to honestly admit that there is a measurable possibility of a breakdown of the political and constitutional system; the legitimacy of all that follows is in question. There is no such thing as being “a little bit pregnant”. There is no such thing as being “a little bit constitutional”.

A rational analyst has to consider the sequalae and possibilities. One train to consider is the Oath. Others include means to pull us back, if such is possible. Some of those means run parallel to normal politics.

Of course, if elections are canceled or “delayed” by any means or for any reason, then all bets are off. But with the realization that the law and Constitution are no longer dependable frameworks; other things have to be considered in relation to the election campaign.

If you cannot depend on the honesty of an election [and for the last few elections, it has been questionable]; then you have to account for cheating. Given the Institutional’s record of looking the other way from any cheating the Left has done, there is no hope that election laws can be enforced. All that is left is making sure that the margin is too wide for cheating to be concealed.

That does not mean that it will prevent Obama claiming victory if they cheat. If the margin is wide enough, and obvious enough [and the truth will escape], it will de-legitimize Obama’s rule. We are not going to get the law or Constitution applied. That train left the station for the last time June 28.

What is to come under year five of Anno Obama Regnant will not be peacefully or quietly accepted. The largest and most prepared group of Oathkeepers in the country is our Armed Forces. We must make sure that their choice between obedience to orders by the regime, and obedience to their Oath to the Constitution is clear and unclouded.

And if we somehow win in November, we have to make sure that the Enemy and the Institutionals never place us in this position again. But that carries the possibility of being done far, far less traumatically.

What you see as a loss of personal enthusiasm for the Romney campaign may be in large part a shifting of gears. I hate and distrust the … “gentleman”. But I will vote for him and against every Democrat that comes within ballot view because we are in a different world, and I have to shape future battlefields; electoral if possible.

Because we are in a different country now, and that is the current reality.

Subotai Bahadur

    ThomasD in reply to Subotai Bahadur. | July 9, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    “…defining the force of compulsion as a tax that has the penalty of property confiscation and imprisonment behind it…”

    We are not quite there yet. While the IRS can force you to delay over unpaid debt, they (currently) cannot prevent a court from discharging such debt via bankruptcy.

    But, we have heard rumblings of an intent to invalidate your right to travel (via Passport restriction) in the event of unpaid taxes. This is clearly a precursor to more onerous measures to come.

    Also, perhaps I was not clear earlier. The phrase “Obama’s not bad, or ideologically twisted, he’s just an inept executive” was not intended as a direct assertions from me. It was more of an approximation/paraphrase of where Romney is coming from in his approach to campaign and (especially) governance (where history shows us he is something of a slightly more practical/successful and slightly less ideological brother of Barack Obama.)

      Subotai Bahadur in reply to ThomasD. | July 9, 2012 at 7:56 pm

      It is not current law that I worry about. Roberts opened the door wide, if not kicked the door off the hinges, to an entirely new coercive power of the State.

      At another venue, I am writing about it, so I won’t go too far into detail; but let us take as an example the right to trial by jury. Let us say that either the next time that the Left gets control of the House [if we want to pretend to be legal] or by Executive Order [if we want to be contemporary]; a tax [non-refundable and non-deductable against income taxes] is passed on those who ask for a Federal trial by jury, waivable at the option of the Department of Justice, for those who wish to have their case heard by an attorney. Said tax to be payable in full at the time of the request. The tax to be either twice the maximum fine possible if it is a criminal case, or twice the damages asked for if it is a civil case, 3 times if it is under 42 USC 1983. You certainly have the option of not asking for a jury trial, but if you do, you are liable for the tax.

      That would most certainly pass muster under Roberts’ Lex Insidious. After all, you have a “choice”, just as under Obamacare. And the State is now allowed to use taxes as compulsion in ways the State cannot mandate under the obsolete doctrine of enumerated powers. If you manage to avoid paying the tax, you can be imprisoned for tax evasion; which of course is not oppression. Ask the peasant class of any country in history. [/s]

      The only possible caveat would be “undue burden”. However, having the process pre-approved [and even invented] by the Supreme Court, and having that same Supreme Court with the same membership being the ones who will decide on whether their decision passes their own judicial review … Talk about improving government efficiency!

      Only a true cynic, or someone defined by the Department of Homeland Security as a potential terrorist, could question the undoubted legitimacy of such a process or those involved in it.

      The field of potential legislation is vast and Ozymandiac. Take firearms ownership and taxes thereon. For I am sure that subject has already been the center of diligent study since June 28.

      Oh, and the concept of the debt being dischargable by bankruptcy? Student loans are already exempt from that, and it would take about a 25 words inserted into any bill.

      “From the date of enactment of this law, all debts owed to the Government of the United States are no longer dischargable by bankruptcy proceedings.”

      It is so much simpler once you get past that silly legitimacy thing.

      Subotai Bahadur

    What people are dealing with now is the fact that ALL of our institutions have failed. This actually happened a long time ago. You don’t run up $16 trillion of debt and another $100 trillion in unfunded mandates if your institutions function properly. But the recent failures have been so ridiculous in nature — “you will have to pass it to know what is in it,” no budget at all under this president, Supreme Court justices revising laws to suit themselves — that a lot of people don’t see any way out. ALL avenues of escape are being systematically cut off and there is no where to turn for help.

    What Roberts ruling really did was just complete the transition to the post-constitutional era of the American experiment that began when FDR was in power. There is simply no rational way you can start with our founding documents and end up with the law in the state which it is in now. Everyone knows the system has been gamed by degrees to the point where now the game IS the system. Roberts just made that plain with his laughably poor attempt at rationalizing his political decision.

    And we are much closer to dictatorship than even people on the right will allow. What do you call Obama picking and choosing by fiat which laws he will enforce and which he will ignore, the granting of citizenship to foreign nationals without so much as a vote, the violation of contracts with the GM bondholders and the issuance of waivers to some businesses and not others? All of this at the whim of one man with none to gainsay him.

    And in the middle of this we choose as our hero Romney who hasn’t a clue as to why people are upset.

    I will simply state that if the Republicans do not win and repeal these many abominations and if Roberts is not brought to heel for his crime spree against logic then the Republican party will cease to exist as we all look for alternatives that do not involve being told to lay in a supply of vaseline. Because the damned Republican establishment is as failed an institution as any.

    Palin was the canary in the coal mine. When they turned on her for the crime of simply stating manifest and obvious truths which had always been the animating principles of country and party then you knew the jig was up and they were more concerned with their status as elites than with principle. The media and the left saw the power they possessed and saw how little opposition there was and they have steamrolled us ever since.

[…] fully understand the four conservative justices on the Supreme Court being mightily aggrieved against their leader. To read that Roberts is not exactly beloved by his colleagues is not surprising. But the emotional […]

He pulled the rug out from under conservatives using illogical arguments and then LAUGHED about it with his buddies before going to Malta.

His legacy will now be that
1. He is lacking in judgment
2. He is lacking in logic
3. His judgments are not based on law but on outcomes
4. He sold his position for a fleeting acclaim by those who wish to destroy the Rule Of Law.
5. He was isolated for the rest of his term.

BTW I never have gotten an answer to this question:
Can a different Chief Justice be Appointed at some point in time or was that a lifetime appointment also?

    Voluble in reply to jakee308. | July 10, 2012 at 12:18 am

    Roberts needs to be asked to step down and he needs the word “traitor” to follow him wherever he goes. He must be made to pay a price in social sanctions that is so high it will serve as an example for all who come after… those men of low character and no principle who will abandon their oath for the sake of fashion must know they will be made unfashionable in the end.

    It is not possible to imagine the contempt Roberts must hold us in for him to not even make a stab at a rational argument to support his ruling. Once you start changing words in a law then you are re-writing it in every sense.

    In short, “mandate” may be read as “tax” with exactly the same degree of reasonableness and in exactly the same manner as the words “John Roberts” may be read as “Benedict Arnold.”