"A wise and frugal government which shall restrain men
from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government."
(Thomas Jefferson)

Friday, June 29, 2012

Daring to Defer -- Chief Justice Roberts Showed the World Why He was an Excellent Choice

UPDATE 7:10 p.m., 29 June:  Today showed how out of touch the Republican right has become with their lies and now their attacks on the Chief Justice.  I thought Rubio was brighter then what we saw today out of him in his efforts to elect Romney who is the Father of Romneycare.  The CBO has come out with the facts that do not match the rhetoric from the right.  I honestly thought Republicans were more honest then what I saw with their rhetoric today.  Romney lied about people losing their insurance which is different even from what Cantor said.  Romney lied all day about healthcare according to even some Republicans and by the CBO.  It is disgusting.  The GOP has no replacement alternatives only about repealing.  The people who believe the rhetoric of the Republicans today, need to check the facts.


Yesterday showed how fortunate we are that President Bush named John Roberts to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.  Among all the ranting and raving plus two cable news networks blowing the decision by not reading the ruling, the Chief Justice made the right decision to make the individual mandate a tax not part of the commerce clause.  The ruling also "curtailed the power of the federal government to bludgeon states into accepting a costly expansion of Medicaid" which you did not hear out of the mouths of conservatives yesterday.  

Romney saying he would repeal Obamacare on his first day in office came off as the biggest hypocrite in the Country when his bill Romneycare was the basis for the individual mandate in Obamacare and according to the Florida AG Pam Bondi, he planned to mandate Romneycare in every state.  But there he was yesterday saying he was going to repeal Obamacare on his first day in office.  Someone needs to tell Romney as President you have no power to repeal a law.  This is not an Executive Order which is very hard to repeal but is bill that became law and has been upheld by the Supreme Court.  When he said repeal and replace, all I could hear in my mind was he wants him name with Romneycare on the bill instead of the word "Obama" so he can take credit.

Don't like the rhetoric from either side about how the Court rules for Conservatives or Liberals when it rules on the law.  Some rulings that I haven't liked, I discover later on that the ruling followed the law and the original bill was badly written like in Campaign Finance Reform.  

Some of the remarks from conservatives were so far over the top that I couldn't believe what I was hearing like it was the worst day since 9/11, Fox News and CNBC say it is going to ruin the economy but the stock market didn't agree, and then we have Romney going out saying it was going to add $1.75 trillion to the deficit when the CBO said it is not even close.  That is just a few snapshots in some of the most over the top rhetoric ever.  This coming from the same party who in the early 90's wanted a universal healthcare bill with individual mandates -- short memories on the part of Republicans.  

This article about the Chief Justice is the very reason I have such tremendous respect for John Roberts that he doesn't rule on ideology but on the Constitution which showed when he took the individual mandate from the commerce clause and said it was a tax.  It is a tax with no enforcement.  Wonder what some Republicans are thinking today that rushed out to the microphones to demand repeal without reading the ruling?  The words they used were over the top.  If the opinion would have been reversed, you would have seen the same type words out of Democrats castigating the court for being too conservative and bowing to the big donors of the Republican Party.

We have too many members of Congress who have been there for way too long and some new ones who forget their represent America first and Party second.  We have been watching the Senate work more across the aisle in the last few months to get good bills passed.  Isn't it time that the House did the same and answered to their constituents not the special interest groups who are demanding they vote a certain way or they will defeat them.

We have a group of members in the House from both sides who are more interested in running out to the microphones at every opportunity instead of actually working for all of us which is the job they are sent there to do.  Their job is  not to work for the NRA, the Koch Brothers, anti-illegal immigration lobby, Chamber of Commerce, Unions, Soros, etc. -- their job is to work for what is best for all the American people and stop this 'my way or no way' that has become a trademark of the far left and the far right.  What about the rest of  Americans who feel disenfranchised by both political parties and their leadership?  Don't we count?
UPI Photo/Roger L. Wollenberg
Umpiring: John Roberts
Daring to Defer 
For Chief Justice John Roberts, embracing judicial modesty means finding limits in everything—including the role of the Supreme Court. 
By James Oliphant Updated: June 29, 2012 | 9:34 a.m.
June 29, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. 
At the dawn of the week, liberal critics of John Roberts’s Supreme Court had the knives at the ready. In their minds, a twofer—the Court upholding Arizona’s punishing immigration law and striking down some or all of President Obama’s health care overhaul—would confirm what many have grown to suspect: The justices are hopelessly, and predictably, fractured along partisan lines, with the Court now just another divided institution in an era replete with them. 
But you make assumptions about the high court at your peril. The justices largely invalidated the Arizona law, and Roberts himself saved the health care law, breaking from his conservative brethren in unprecedented fashion to join with the Court’s liberal wing to preserve the bulk of the Affordable Care Act. 
In doing so, the chief justice may have demonstrated that he is the jurist that his many admirers thought he was in 2005, when President Bush nominated him. Remember that bit during his confirmation hearing about judicial modesty, about how a justice should be “an umpire”? Those words seemed to ring hollow in the wake of decisions such as Citizens United. Now, Roberts seems to have applied them in two disparate instances, surely disappointing legal conservatives who believed that their movement had gained unstoppable momentum, but reminding observers that most cases at the corner of First and Maryland are decided between the margins, not in them. 
You can sense Roberts’s deft efforts throughout the health care opinion to find a result consistent with his conservative principles, one that mollifies the law’s detractors and its supporters. Both sides ended up with something. The opinion struck down the individual mandate under the commerce clause, but upheld it under Congress’s power to tax. (Woe to news organizations such as CNN that went live after reading just the first few pages of the 190-page-plus ruling.) The Court also curtailed the power of the federal government to bludgeon states into accepting a costly expansion of Medicaid. 
Embracing judicial modesty means finding limits in everything. In that regard, Roberts’s majority opinion goes out of its way to assert that, yes, there is a point at which Congress cannot regulate the everyday actions of Americans, reproaching that body in a manner that likely hasn’t been done since the days of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. Moreover, as Roberts points out in the decision, Congress’s power to tax comes with inherent limits; the government can’t use it to compel behavior (such as purchasing health insurance), but instead only to sanction.
For a jurist such as Roberts, however, just as important is identifying the limits on the Court itself as a functioning branch of government. 
Roberts is committed to the notion that courts shouldn’t overturn the actions of democratically elected legislatures. Indeed, doing so is the kind of “judicial activism” that conservatives have historically deplored. The inestimable Linda Greenhouse, the longtime New York Times Court correspondent, predicted the result in the health care case, pointing to language that Roberts wrote in a dissent to the Court’s holding earlier this week that states can’t hand out life sentences to juveniles without a chance of parole. Courts, Roberts wrote, “must presume an Act of Congress is constitutional”—and he noted that a “heavy burden” exists for “those who would attack the judgment of the representatives of the people.” 
“He really does believe that if there’s a possible way to read a statute to preserve its constitutionality, the Court should find a way to do it,” says Jonathan Adler, a law professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. 
As a longtime Washington litigator and a former U.S. deputy solicitor general, Roberts is a full-fledged member of the establishment, which makes him particularly ill-suited to lead a conservative insurgency. He works in subtler ways—but his familiarity with the levers of power means that he should never be underestimated. 
Even though many conservatives are bemoaning the health care ruling, Roberts’s ensuring that the individual mandate will now be rebranded as a tax not only hands the GOP some new ready-to-go talking points but it also means that voters can perhaps express their resistance with greater clarity at the ballot box, rather than at the courthouse steps. Remember, the Obama White House was never comfortable during the health care debate with labeling the requirement to purchase insurance as a tax because of the term’s negative implications. It’s a lousy sell. 
“As long as Congress can acknowledge something is a tax,” Adler says, “then we can let the political process work.” 
It will be tempting in the short term to look at the decision, see Roberts aligned with the likes of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan, and wonder whether the chief was briefly possessed by the spirit of a predecessor, Earl Warren. But Roberts knows what he’s doing. In a week when Justice Antonin Scalia’s screed from the bench about illegal immigration made the Court particularly susceptible to the charge that it has become an agenda-first body, Roberts’s move was a means to reassure an increasingly skeptical public that the justices really do try to solve problems in a principled way. He reasserted the importance of courts’ deferring to the will of legislatures, something that should resonate with conservatives, in particular. He helped set limits on the power of the commerce clause and Congress’s spending powers. And he ensured that if President Obama wants to rescue his health care law from the threat of repeal, he will have to defend it as a tax.
All in all, not a bad day at the office. 
This article appeared in the Saturday, June 30, 2012 edition of National Journal.

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