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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Accurate Analysis on Healthcare Ruling Evades Public: Time For Light to Shine on Truth of SCOTUS Ruling

The fanfare of Healthcare Act supporters claiming that the Supreme Court Ruling validates the Act's constitutionality is quite overrated. It is as overrated as the wails of Healthcare opponents who expected sweeping statements of its unconstitutionality is a mournful loss of American liberties. In fact, nothing of these two parallel positions is accurate.


The Ruling by SCOTUS did not ignore the Constitution but affirmed it.
One problem is the tendancy of liberals to assume any lack of a dogmatic "no," is a "yes." Another problem is that many conservatives wanted the SCOTUS to affirm their conservative POLICY just as dogmatically, which would undermined the Constitution.  Perhaps they expected SCOTUS to wipe the slate clean of Obamacare altogether. This is not the scope of SCOTUS--they determine the constitutionality of law, not irradicate it. In this case, it was a law so all-encompassing—and legally invasive, entangled in all forms of governance and consuming—that the only responsible way for SCOTUS to address the many issues was to thoroughly parse them out one by one. That they have.


WHAT PEOPLE ARE MISSING ON BOTH SIDES IS WHAT SCOTUS ACTUALLY SAID:
The Justices did not say Obamacare was constitutional.
Instead, what they did was discuss the most dominant themes. Thus, instead of a one-fell-swoop-decision, SCOTUS pointed out to America—read: reminded America—of the many checks and balances afforded in that great document.  Among the many major points SCOTUS re-affirmed are these Constitutional paradigms:

1.) That Congress has the authority to tax.
There is nothing new here. (See Art. I, Sec. 8.) The Justices did not say Obamacare was constitutional. In fact, having read the document (only 60 pages), I can attest that what is being reported (by those who have neither read it, nor understand it or the principles the Justices discussed), is factually misrepresenting the Ruling. What the justices said was constitutional was that Congress has authority to collect taxes. This is merely a reiteration of Art. I, Sec 8 of the Constitution.  Additionally, they clarified that the so-called penalties, along with all other collection of monies are, contrary to what supporters of the Healthcare Act have told the public, a tax. That makes Pelosi, Obama, et al. deceivers of Americans.

2.) The "regulating" referred to in Art I Sec 8 does NOT mean "create." Therefore, Congress cannot regulate a non-activity.
Congress cannot create new authority--only make regular those authorities already granted in the Constitution. (This goes to the Mischief Rule.)
The Court was quite vocal about the inappropriateness of Congress' attempt to create a power they have never had in legislating (read: forcing) citizens into action. This was clearly stated in the Ruling. (567 U.S. __2012, 21-27) Specifically, Roberts writes,
…the Government’s logic would justify a mandatory purchase to solve almost any problem…People, for reasons of their own, often fail to do things that would be good for them…Under the Government’s logic, that authorizes Congress to use its commerce power to compel citizens to act as the Government would have them act.
That is not the country the Framers of our Constitution envisioned. (567 U.S.__2012. 22,23)
Clearly:  To this end many hoped the Supreme Court would, in simple terms, throw the entire Act out, or at least disable it sufficiently to render it null and void. Sadly, many are so enraged by poor information that they don’t realize that SCOTUS actually did, in large measure, do that very thing, as cited above. But in the process, also reminded Americans of their responsibility to act on their own authority.

3.) SCOTUS RE-AFFIRMED that the power to control legislation by Congress lies with the PEOPLE--not SCOTUS.
Furthermore, the Justices specifically explained WHY they did not throw the whole Act out, saying that the sanctity of the people's authority to choose their legislation via the representatives (of both houses of Congress, in particular, but not to exclude the President) must be preserved; and it is therefore up to the people--not SCOTUS--to remedy the law. That is what was said. (ibid. 6,7) Apparently some are celebrating the assumption that the people will not exercise their authority and right to have what 80% of them demanded not be enacted in the first place. (You might remember that the preponderance of Representatives was fired. I suspect, after this nod from SCOTUS, more is to come with some mighty powerful hiring to follow. That is, if people actually understand what SCOTUS said.)  is being reported (by those who have neither read it, nor understand it or the principles the Justices discussed), is factually misrepresenting the ruling. What the justices said WAS constitutional was that Congress has authority to collect taxes. Duh, reiteration of Art. I Sec 8. Additionally, they clarified that the so-called penalties, along with all other collection of monies ARE a tax. That makes Pelosi, Omaba et al decievers of Americans.

That point aside: The Ruling specifically states that the Constitution grants individual immunity from participation AND state immunity from it as well. To the point, neither Congress, nor the President can compel anyone or a state to enjoin Obamacare. SCOTUS actually reinforced state and individual sovereigny and liberty. They were quite voca about the inappropriatenss of Congress' attempt to create a power they have never had in legislating (read:forcing) ciizens into action. This was clearly stated in the Ruling.

Furthermore, the Justices specifically explained WHY they did not throw the whole thing out, saying that the sanctity of the people's authority to chose their legislation via the representatives (of both houses of Congress, in particular, but not to exclude the President) must be preserved; and it is therefore up to the people--not SCOTUS--to remedy the law. THAT IS WHAT WAS SAID: Apparently somebody, somehow, believes the people will not excercise their authority and right to have what 80% of them demanded not be enacted in the first place. (You might remember that a preponderance of Represenatives were fired. I suspect, after a nod from SCOTUS, more is to come with some mighty powerful hiring to follow.)

The Ruling specifically states that the Constitution grants individual immunity from participation AND state immunity from it as well. To the point, neither Congress, nor the President can compel any one or a state to enjoin Obamacare. SCOTUS has actually reinforced state and individual sovereignty and liberty, not slighted it.
The idea that Congress has created taxes against the will of the people is only partially true, at best. The verity is that Congress is elected by the people, thus what Congress does, technically and by Constitutional authority, has been sanctioned by the people. The people then, having the ultimate authority can “fire” the Representative or Senator who neither respects their wishes, ignoring their duty to representation, nor obliges the sovereign will of their respective states. This is true for any legislation irrespective of its relationship to taxes. (However, it is difficult to imagine any legislation by Congress as being unrelated to taxes.) Quoting one of the most arduous defenders of the Constitution, John Marshall, Justice Roberts emphasizes the difference between the constitutionality of passing an act and enforcing one.  He writes
“Proper respect for a co-ordinate branch of the government” requires that we strike down authority to pass [the] act in question [when] clearly demonstrated…[Policy judgments] are entrusted to our Nation’s elected leaders, who can be thrown out of office if the people disagree with them. It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices. (567 U.S.___2012, 6. Emphasis added.
The people are responsible for finding those who adequately and accurately reflect their wishes.  SCOTUS simply reminded—and more effectively hinted—to the people of their solemn Constitutional duty—that is not the Court’s. In other words, SCOTUS was not obliging to the people passing the buck to them.


4.) SCOTUS RE-AFFIRMED the sovereignty of the individual. 
 Justice Roberts writes that the argument held by the Government that they have the right to require our “participation” under the Necessary and Proper Clause is unfounded.  While quoting from precedence, (McCulloch, supra, at 413, 418), Justice Roberts re-affirms, through the Mischief Rule, a fundamental doctrine of the Constitution, saying

‘…we have…carried out our responsibility to declare unconstitutional those laws that undermine the structure of government established by the Constitution. [They] are not consistent with the letter and spirit of the constitution, and are not proper...Rather, they are…merely acts of usurpation.’ (ibid. 28)
Applying these principles, the individual mandate cannot be sustained. (ibid. 29
…The commerce power…does not authorize the mandate. (ibid. 30)
Roberts further expounds on the constitutional principles behind the Necessary and Proper Clause, explaining its misuse by the Government in defense of “Obamacare.” (ibid.29)

5.) SCOTUS RE-AFFIRMED the sovereignty of States to determine whether a federal program is pertinent and applicable to their individual state.[i]
The Court made a clear distinction between mandating a state to comply if they opt in to Obamacare and penalizing a state for refusing to participate.  Roberts says that they are not curtailing Congress’s power to require States interested in accepting Affordable Healthcare Act funds, to comply with their stipulations. But they cannot compel a state unwilling to participate in the Act either by requirements or penalizing them by reducing their existing Medicaid funds.  This is of paramount importance in a time where the Federal Government has increasingly used forms of coercion on states through a financial choking. (ibid. 55)[ii]
The only main concern, which is clearly constitutional, if unfortunate in this case, (given Congress has the authority to tax), is the reaffirmation of taxing for Obamacare independent of the acceptance of health insurance. It is not the authority to tax that is at odds with Americans. It is, as this Court has suggested, that it is unwise to do so.

Conservatives, moderates, and even liberals who dislike Obamacare, should stop listening to sources, including main stream media, who don't know how to read--let alone understand--the Constitution, historical perspectives, or rulings by SCOTUS.

Just because SCOTUS didn't come right out and remove the Affordable Healthcare Act, aka “Obamacare,” all together, does not in the slightest give victory to supporters of the unconstitutionality of key parts of the Act. Quite the contrary is true.
It would behoove Americans to learn, first, to read the actual texts for themselves; and secondly, to know and understand constitutional tools such as Rules of Construction, historical imperatives, the many discussions and debates of the Framers, and so forth before believing anything they hear or read from, in particular, but certainly not limited to, main stream media. My concern is that some people would like it if Americans were not aware of what this ruling actually says. It is up to each individual American to circumvent this attempt, by being well equipped to counter nothing other than nonsense.

(I discussed some of the ins and outs of this ruling on a special of Foundation of a Nation the night of the ruling, June 28, 2012). You can listen or watch that broadcast at the network location:
www.alfiredupmedia.com )

[i] Refer to 1995 SCOTUS decision written by Scalia re-affirming Marshall, re-affirming the Framers.  (Also see Amends. 4, 5, 9, & 10)
[ii] In early 2012, Mr. Obama threatened the State of Texas that if they refused to oblige the abortion section of Medicaid, he would choke the state by withholding $35M in funding.  Governor Rick Perry did not flinch. He said the State would find the funds elsewhere; and the Attorney General to Texas, Greg Abbott filed suit. https://www.oag.state.tx.us/oagNews/release.php?id=3995; www.foxnews.com/.../perry-blasts-obama-for-federal-funding-cuts-to-medicaid/ )
                                                                                                                       

3 comments:

MontereyPam said...

The four Justices' dissenting opinion cuts through Justice Roberts' argument like warm butter. (In part) "The government and those who support its position... make the remarkable argument that (the mandate) IS NOT a tax for the purposes of the Anti-Injunction Act, but IS a tax for constitutional purposes. That carries verbal wizardry too far, deep into the forbidden land of the sophists." Sorry if we're not dazzled by Justice Roberts' display of verbal wizardry in re-writing this piece of legislation in order to save it.

SP Devereaux said...

Monterey Pam: Thank you for your comment. Whether we all agree or dissagree, intellegently phrased comments lending to critical thought are always welcome.


Just for clarification, before discussing our point, and with all due respect, when you say, "we," I think you mean you--given you have not stated that you are representing a particular group, correct?

To your comment: You bring up a valid, and common question. That it "cuts through...the argument like warm butter," cannot be defended, I think, since it represents the opinion of one or more of the minority.

To clarify your statement a bit: Roberts, as the Chief Justice, was not writing "his" opinion, which you fail to mention, but the opinion of the majority, of the Court, (which is standard); and in some sections, all the court. Dissenting opinions are included, and written by one justice, just as the majority opinion is written by one justice; but each represent all those justices who concur with that side.

To the point of your argument then: The Anti-Injunction Act is a product of Congress and lays out the policy of regulating taxation. It does not provide authority to Congress. That belongs to the Constitution, alone. It provides authoriy to Congress to apply such terms as tax,penalties, and fees, to Art.I, Sec.8, cls.1. which are included in the Anti-Injunction Act the Government used as part of its defense. But SCOTUS is not interested in policy (the Anti-Injunction Act) but authority (the Constitution.) The terms above were previously determined by SCOTUS to be under the authority of Congress as per Art.I, Sec. 8. Roberts rewrote nothing.

The fact that the Court had to refer to the former in relation to the latter is specificaly because the Govt. brought it up.

It is also worth noting that Roberts is historically a CONSERVATIVE Justice. There is substantial merit to his unbiased observations and summations, then, when he merely appears to side with historically more liberal justices. Following C.J.Roberts explanations comes the official Court Opinion, that collaorates with Roberts' majority arguments.

Also of note is that both liberal and conservative justices dissented on many singular parts of the overall Opinion as part of the discussion. Those are for the public's review as to what was debated. They do not, nor can they have capacity to undermine the official Opinion of the Court. The Court's Opinion considers the cummulative vote of the majority.

In fact, this Opinion is neither liberal nor conservative. It specifically points to the Constitutional merits of the Healthcare Act using Rules of Construction and applying the intent of the Framers.

One final word here, and the last of the Opinion of the Court,
"The Framers...asigned to this Court the duty of enforcing [the Federal Govt's] limits...But the Court does not express any opinion on the wisdom of the Affordable Care Act. Under the Constitution, that judgement is reserved to the people.

The Judgement of the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit is affirmed in part and reversed in part." (59)

The part affirmed? Congress can tax. The part reversed? Congress cannot compel the Act upon either the people or their respective states.

Mary Mostert said...

Thank you so much for this analysis! It really disturbs me how much inaccurate reporting on this decision has taken place! In effect Justice Roberts has reminded American VOTERS that it is THEIR reponsibility to select leaders who will uphold the US Constitution, as they swear they will do! I've not read any report that has pointed out how clearly Justice Roberts has reminded voters that THEY, not the courts, must select better leaders -senatrs, representatives and presidents!