Saturday, June 30, 2012

Justice Roberts' Decision in the Health Care Case is a Triumph for Centrism

Chief Justice John Roberts agreed with the conservatives that the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause are not a sufficient foundation for the individual mandate in the universal healthcare law.  He agreed with the liberals, though, that the mandate could stand, because it is not really a mandate but an exercise of Congress' taxing power.

Some see this as an incoherent position, or some kind of sellout.  I disagree.  I think the Chief Justice has forged an important centrist position. 

In fact, I think he may be finding his way to be the leader of the middle of the court, so that the Supreme Court is more than just a battle of left vs. right.  He has said that he wants to see - to create - more unanimous decisions, and fewer of the horrible 5-4 slugfests that we have seen in recent years.  I wish him very well in that quest.


23 comments:

phil said...

No comment on Obama's big lie that the mandate was ABSOLUTELY not a tax. Do you ends justify the means? It is a sad day for truth.

gruntled said...

It is not a lie, but a disagreement. The President still maintains that a penalty is not a tax. Justice Roberts construes the law differently, as is his constitutional right.

Phil said...

Shame on you.

Thomas said...

Rather, Shame on you Phil. You make dogmatic statements on "truth" without supporting it - then make judgmental statements towards someone who DOES explain his reasoning. I find that sad and maddening.

Anonymous said...

How about this? The President stated emphatically that it is not a tax. But then his lawyers argued before the Supreme Court that it is a tax (or at least valid under the taxing authority of Congress). Play your semantics all you want but the President LIED when he said that the middle class taxes would not go up "one thin dime." Joe Wilson may not be able to say it during a speech but I can, "You lie, Mr. President." And I hope you are fired in November.

phil said...

Thomas why is judgement a bad thing? Holder lied and people died.

Mac said...

I suggest that the Chief did two important things. He preserved the important principle that an act of congress signed into the law enjoys a presumption of constitutionality. The Solicitor General, the third most senior person in the Department of Justice, by arguing that the mandate was a tax allowed the Chief to find the ACA constitutional.

He also stopped the four liberals on the Court from re-writing the Constitution. I go into greater detail over at Around the Scuttlebutt http://aoundthescuttlebutt.blogspot.com/

phil said...

Good points Mac...

KySocialist91 said...

The most important thing is that the Act survived, yes it is a tax but it means more Americans can receive healthcare without being turned down by the sub-par private insurance agencies that run the healthcare system. It isn't perfect, a national Medicare-for-all universal system is needed to make us as good of quality as the rest of the developed world, but it is a good first step

phil said...

It will be over turned soon. The smaller and closer the government the better. Thanks for admitting it is a tax though...

Anonymous said...

Look at the latest polls on Obama-care they are bleak. Big government is more coercive than Big Business...real centrist's admit this.

KySocialist91 said...

Government more coercive than business? Where do you live? Under universal systems the government is required to treat everyone no matter who they are, here in America, thanks to the stupidity and arrogance of individualism, we allow people to be thrown out of hospitals because they don't have insurance. We are always ranked low amongst the developed world in terms of health because we are so selfish about where we put government money.

I'd trust the government to safe-guard my interests as a citizen more than a private company only interested in lining the pockets of investors. Profitability of things is not what needs to run society

gruntled said...

The Affordable Care Act leaves the 80%+ of Americans who get their health insurance through their employers, from private providers, intact. This includes me. It further insures that the rest get health insurance through one means or another, also from private providers.

We all have to pay for the latter group's health care anyway. Universal health care means we share the burden more fairly. Private health businesses reap the benefit directly, and we all will reap the benefit of reduced health care costs in the medium run.

phil said...

In which other areas has the government lowered cost? People don't like to be cheated and lied...even if its for their "own good".

gruntled said...

What the government does that the market does not is provide universal service, not just profitable service. For all those things which the need universal service - military, mail, education, roads, air traffic control, weather reports, old-age security, etc. - the government does it far cheaper than for-profit businesses could do.

The big step we are taking in universal health care is to go from very widespread provision, through a combination of private and government provision, to universal health insurance, as we did with education in the last century.

phil said...

The polls belie you enthusiasm. You arguments sound like Democrat talking points...

gruntled said...

Which part of my argument is wrong?

phil said...

That governments do things more cheaply than the private sector could.

gruntled said...

The government delivers universal services more cheaply than the private sector could in all the areas I mentioned (and many more). Comparing the overhead costs of Medicare and HMOs is evidence of this fact.

Indeed, it makes more sense to think of the private sector as creaming off the enterprises that can be done profitably, leaving government to provide for the rest.

phil said...

The government takes money from people who earned it and gives it to people who did not. That is immoral and when done it should be done sparingly.Local, small government works best. The federal government is bloated wasteful and corrupt. President "Kardashian" will hopefully be a one termer.

gruntled said...

Would local, small government even be able to provide universal military, mail, education, roads, air traffic control, weather reports, old-age security,and health insurance services?

phil said...

Yes and without the federal government overhead. The federal government creates nothing. It confiscates money from the states which know much better what their people need. It operates much like a greedy middleman.

Mac said...

"Would local, small government even be able to provide universal military, mail, education, roads, air traffic control, weather reports, old-age security,and health insurance services?"

Talk about mixing apples and horse apples! Under our Constitution, the federal government is charged with responsibility for national defense, post offices and post roads, common currency, and foreign relations.Weather? My Grand dad, a life long farmer, and I, a career infantry officer, both meet Stephen Ambrose's definition of the "best weather men I ever met." Air traffic control is a legitimate service under the real commerce clause.

Education is, and always was, a local responsibility until "those who can't even teach others to teach" decided that a national bureaucracy that does not educate a single student was a source of job security.

But the assumption that there should be "universal" [e.g., government-provided old age security and health care] is nonsense. To get there, one must assume that a bunch of bureaucrats know the needs of my family and my community better than do I and my neighbors. Old age and health care was, and should be a responsibility of the individual and the family and, I suggest, the Church. My Mother was Chief Labor and Delivery Room Nurse in a Catholic hospital run by the Sisters of Mercy. I doubt that a single truly needy patient was ever turned away--I know our family did not have "health insurance" but when we needed to see a doctor, we paid for it. But when the government decided that health care was a "human right" along with bread and circuses to be used to buy votes, we got the current Government-As-The-State-Religion. I would love to know how many proponents of the ACA have ever gone on a single mission trip to provide health care one-on-one.