Mandate Delay Shames Roberts, Krauthammer, and Will
There has been a lot of conversation, and rightfully so, about the ramifications of the Obama administration's potentially illegal delay of the employer mandate portion of the train wreck known as ObamaCare. Many are saying that this proves that ObamaCare will fail and go down as one of the all-time "told you so" moments in political history -- while others insist that the delay is a stroke of political brilliance and/or exemplary caution needed for such an undertaking.
Regardless of how that argument plays out, this official shilly-shally shows beyond any doubt that a number of conservative intellectuals out-thought themselves in the summer of 2012 over the individual mandate. These people now deserve a cognitive "told you so" spanking themselves.
One person who merits a heaping helping of that scorn in particular is Chief Justice John Roberts, not to mention his protectors in the establishment media, Charles Krauthammer and George Will. Robert's absurd attempt at logic in the majority decision, and the labyrinthine reasoning used by Dr. K and Mr. Will in defending it, are now all exposed as nothing more than a bunch of inside Washington Ivy League-type flapdoodle.
To refresh memories, Roberts ruled that the individual mandate portion of ObamaCare was constitutional because it was nothing more than a tax -- this after several years of ObamaCare defenders insisting ad nauseam that it was no such thing. To quote the ruling, Roberts stated that "it makes going without insurance just another thing the Government taxes, like buying gasoline or earning income." In other words, Roberts felt compelled to make a ludicrous case for the administration -- 180 degrees out of phase with the administration's own stated position -- and then find an equally irrational way to uphold it as well. While Roberts was no doubt congratulating himself on his new and crafty tax angle, it escaped him that tax or not, the law simply is not workable.
Or as Antonin Scalia put it in a brilliantly sarcastic dissent aimed squarely at Roberts, "the Court today decided to save a statute Congress did not write," adding that the ruling "creates a debilitated, inoperable version of health care regulation ... the public does not expect." Scalia was saying, in effect, John, you are just plain wrong, and this thing can't possibly work anyway.
Keep in mind Scalia's words inoperable and debilitated. They were not accidental.
Scalia was making it clear that he was in total agreement with all of the Tea Party folks, Sarah Palin, Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, and others who had been insisting for three years that this law was not only unconstitutional, but a bureaucratic disaster with zero chance of working. And yet, while Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and two other justices were agreeing with the unwashed rubes, haut monde mavens Krauthammer and Will were insisting otherwise.
Mr. Will, who was apparently taking the (Nancy) Pelosian view that we must be destroyed by this bill before we can possibly know what's in it, lectured unhappy conservatives with a straight face, insisting that Roberts's ruling was "a substantial victory" for conservatism that improved "our civic health by rekindling interest in what this expansion threatens -- the Framers' design for limited government." Hey, nothing says the Framers' designs for limited government like the court rescuing a flawed economic takeover by calling it a tax.
Krauthammer added another wrinkle to the glitterati interpretation, stating that Roberts brilliantly "managed to uphold the central conservative argument against ObamaCare, while at the same time finding a narrow definitional dodge to uphold the law -- and thus prevented the court from being seen as having overturned, presumably on political grounds, the signature legislation of this administration."
Whew, that was close. We wouldn't want to make Obama mad over something as insignificant as a normal reading of the Constitution, now would we? Yes, a "narrow definitional dodge" is exactly what the Framers had in mind, no doubt.
Of course, to be fair, perhaps we just don't appreciate the munificence of Roberts the way Krauthammer does: "Why did he do it[?]" asked Dr. K: "because he carries two identities. Jurisprudentially, he is a constitutional conservative. Institutionally, he is chief justice and sees himself as uniquely entrusted with the custodianship of the court's legitimacy, reputation and stature."
Translation? We must be willing to sacrifice the Constitution today -- so that the body singularly charged with being the final gatekeeper of that document can maintain its moral imperative to maybe save the Constitution at some point in the future...maybe...perhaps someday.
So fast-forward to this week -- ironically, just about a year after Robert's ruling -- to the announcement that a major provision of ObamaCare will be delayed one year. This procedure, which itself is probably illegal (not that there's anything wrong with that), clearly divides America into two classes of citizens based on employment status. Moreover, it shows that the entire law is a sham. Its very framework is flawed to the point of, say, debilitation and inoperability. The law will not work because the law cannot work -- and to hide that fact, Obama must apply unequal protection to American citizens until after the next election cycle.
This colossal embarrassment is what compelled Roberts felt compelled to traumatize rational thought and tax law, not to mention our Constitution, to uphold. And his line of thinking is what some of our betters insisted we were too unsophisticated to understand. Inoperable? Debilitated? Unconstitutional? Not a tax, but a tax anyway? Really, guys, I think we get it. In fact ,we got it right, and you got it wrong a year ago. Now there's no place to hide.
C. Edmund Wright is a frequent contributor to American Thinker, and author of the recently released WTF? How Karl Rove and the Establishment Lost...Again and can be followed at CEdmundWright.com, @CEdmundWright on Twitter and Facebook.com/CEdmundWright/author.