One of the core problems with a decision like the Supreme Court’s King v. Burwell ruling is that it does the opposite of what a Supreme Court presided over by justices-for-life is supposed to do.[Hat tip to Sir A.S.]
As Chief Justice Roberts makes abundantly clear in his ruling, he looked at politics, not the law, concluding that upholding the clear text of the Affordable Care Act would have killed it, and inflicted chaos on a health insurance system already driven mad by ObamaCare.
He made a political judgment – with copious pressure from President Obama and his followers, and the weight of his own previous decision to put politics above the law to preserve the individual mandate – that the Affordable Care Act was a writ of nearly-unlimited power to do what its framers say they want to accomplish today, not a law with a balance of both power and responsibility based on what it said at the moment it was signed.
This is a very bad precedent to set, especially if Roberts’ reasoning is followed to the conclusion that the bigger and more ambiguously-written a law is, the more untrammeled executive power it grants. No matter what ultimately becomes of ObamaCare, that will come back to haunt us in many other contexts in the future.
... I am of the opinion that tough political outcomes are a burden worth bearing to preserve the rule of law, but here we are instead: Democrats doing a creepy “ALL DEBATE IS NOW OVER!” victory dance to celebrate the Constitution-smashing preservation of a law the American people don’t like, whose passage has already blown them into a congressional minority, and which they own 100 percent. It would be easier to maintain optimism about Republicans fighting on such favorable political terrain if they had demonstrated an institutional talent for fighting winning battles on solid ground, and doing important things with the power thus obtained.
The American people are getting a raw deal out of ObamaCare, but the President was not wrong when he crowed today that the law is working the way he wanted it to. The American system has been bent and twisted beyond recognition by the agonizing pain of digesting a law that conflicts with such basic values as the freedom of religion, and even the freedom to decline engaging in commerce. The “consent of the governed” matters less than ever. The amount of money sucked down by ObamaCare and distributed to the government’s Little Partners in the insurance industry is staggering. A huge swath of the formerly independent middle class is now helplessly dependent on subsidy payments, whose termination can be threatened if they get any funny ideas about putting the Leviathan State on a diet.
... The Left will redouble its efforts to silence and marginalize Americans who are suffering under ObamaCare..... Most people get a queasy feeling when they hear the phrase “the ends justify the means.” They know that’s wrong, and they know those words have been cited to justify tyranny and evil. The Roberts decision is wholly based on that idea. The American system was founded on the opposite ideal: that the ends do not justify the means, the system should not be shredded to impose a “good idea” with haste, the rule of law is more important than any goal that could be achieved by discarding it.
... A “law” that imposes no restraint or obligation on the government, not even the need to respect the plain text of the law itself, contains a payload of power that should be unacceptable to every patriotic American. Sometimes Republicans talk about the Constitution as an object of worship, an abstract idea they hold in reverence, without discussing its practical effect upon the real world. Well, Chief Justice Roberts just gave us a very powerful example of how the abandonment of Constitutional principle disrupts the everyday lives of ordinary people. Use it.
Thursday, July 02, 2015
The imperial judiciary
John Hayward, "The King v. Burwell aftermath" (Breitbart, June 25, 2015):