The news Thursday from the Supreme Court was, on first blush, very disappointing. It upheld the constitutionality of an extremely unpopular law that will ultimately not only break the economy, but drive talented doctors from the field and reduce the state of US medical care to that of a European socialist model.However, upon further reflection, the healthcare decision could turn out to have positive consequences for those who believe in the efficacy of a free market economy. In explaining the majority decision, Chief Justice Roberts noted that the individual mandate, though unconstitutional under the “commerce clause,” was legitimized under the power of Congress to levy taxes. Mr. Obama and his liberal allies in Congress must now explain why they so vigorously and conclusively denied even the possibility that the individual mandate could, in any way, be considered a tax. They will now have to admit that either they were naïve on the point or were lying outright to the American public. What little Mr. Obama has released about his past includes an assertion that he was a constitutional scholar, who actually taught the subject at the college level. As such, how could he not have known that the mandate might be construed as a tax? And, if he really were ignorant on this point, then why did he have his solicitor general argue Congress’ taxing authority as a basis for the mandate before the high court?
This ruling also means that Obama will be unable to rally his liberal constituency by claiming that only through his re-election could the law be repaired, had it been deemed unconstitutional. Finally, Thursday’s decision dispelled two widely held myths. One, the Supreme Court of the United States is not the impenetrable shield that will always protect us from the excesses of government or from becoming a totalitarian state altogether. And two, Chief Justice John Roberts is neither the strict constructionist nor the conservative most court observers believed him to be.In the end, the Healthcare decision could prove to be the spark that ignites a generally apathetic public, which now realizes that our last bulwark of defense against government’s abuse of power is no longer the Supreme Court but the ballot box and our own determination to save our Constitution and our republic.
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