John Roberts Was Wrong, and Here's Why
Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) recently wrote a book, Why John Roberts Was Wrong About Healthcare, which is an excellent and compelling read. Besides providing a gripping argument as to why Justice Roberts was wrong on the ObamaCare ruling, Lee also gives an excellent history and background on the Court and the health care decision itself. American Thinker had the privilege of interviewing the Senator about his book and ObamaCare.
His two main arguments in the book point out how ObamaCare has made federalism extravagant and that there appears to no longer be a separation of power among branches. Senator Lee explained to American Thinker, "Too much power is consolidated in Washington versus remaining with the states and the people. There is also too much legislative power being wielded by the Executive and Judicial branches."
In his book, Lee writes, "It undermines federalism inasmuch as it sets a precedent for the Court to 'cure' the constitutional defects in a law found to be unconstitutionally coercive of a state's sovereign powers ... that federal powers are indeed 'few and defined,' while those reserved to the states are 'numerous and indefinite.' My reluctance to embrace that characterization cannot be overstated." He also directly notes that ObamaCare is obviously a gross expansion of the federal government.
The senator is hoping that Americans take the time to become knowledgeable about this bill and its consequences: "that health care will get a lot more expensive, individuals will have burdens that will bring about penalties under federal law, there will be more part-time jobs without benefits, more massive layoffs, workforce reductions, and a creation of a class system of medicine. There is also going to be a cost to the American taxpayer: nearly $1.8 trillion over the next ten years."
Regarding the separation of powers, Lee explains in the book, "The court's job was not to ascertain whether Congress could have achieved the same ends by properly invoking its taxing power. Nor was it the Court's job to make any change to the statute that might be necessary to save it. Rather, the Court's job was to decide whether what Congress actually enacted was a valid exercise of Congress' power to tax."
Senator Lee explained to American Thinker, "I wanted to show in my book the Court was devious. In order to take jurisdiction of the case, it had to conclude [that ObamaCare] was a tax, not a penalty. Otherwise, they would not be able to review the case until after the 2014 implementation kicked in. People need to understand that this was initially written as a tax, but it could not get passed. Chief Justice John Roberts did a major disservice to the citizens of America, rewriting the law as Congress 'may have intended' instead of accepting what Congress did intend. He did this to 'save' the unconstitutional legislation by doing what he has no authority to do: rewriting a statute not once, but twice.
"He also changed the Medicaid expansion portion. The bill stated that if a state did not accept the new Medicaid expansion, it would forfeit all of its existing federal Medicaid payments, leaving the state to pay for everything that they had formerly shared with the federal government. That was clearly an unconstitutional portion of the law, so instead of striking it, the Court rewrote it, allowing states to opt out of expansion while keeping their current federal subsidy. The Court "fixed" the provision to make it constitutional. So we have a law, which, because the Court altered it, is a law that was not passed by Congress."
Senator Lee has been at the forefront of getting ObamaCare repealed. After the Supreme Court's ruling, he introduced the bill S.560, which makes it clear the mandate is a penalty, not a tax. "I came up with this bill because I was so frustrated with this administration and those in Congress who support the bill, yet still say it is a penalty, not a tax. How could members of Congress who voted for ACA [ObamaCare] in 2010, but now insist that they would never have voted to enforce the mandate through a tax, refuse to support S.560? If this bill passes, then from a constitutional standpoint, the whole ObamaCare bill will collapse. It would get challenged again and the Supreme Court could not uphold it, because of its own ruling."
He is also fighting ObamaCare on another front: to defund it. Senator Lee, along with Senator Rubio, Senator Cruz, Senator Paul, nine other senators, and seventy members in the House, have pledged to defund ObamaCare. "What I am saying is that we ought to fund government, just not ObamaCare. As I stated in my book, this law as it stands today is not the law passed by Congress. It has been amended twice by the Supreme Court and twice by the president. No one including myself wants a shutdown of the government. I am willing to fund everything, with one exception: ObamaCare."
Senator Lee seems to have a good point. It is now or never to eliminate ObamaCare. Waiting until the 2014 elections might not be an option, since the law will have been in place for a year and a half, with many insurers already out of business. So why are so many Republicans running scared? Senator Lee cannot explain the fact that "so many Republicans are overwhelmingly going in this direction. The good news is that the American people are going overwhelmingly in the direction of defunding ObamaCare. We are going to get the message out, which is why we started in July. I would encourage all my fellow Americans to contact their representatives in Congress and tell them to vote for defunding this law, especially if they purport to be against its implementation."
Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), author of ObamaCare, has said the law is a train wreck. Senator Lee points out that the Washington establishment is not happy with his efforts, yet many outside the Washington Beltway want action.
Anyone who wants to understand how this law has been changed four times should read Why John Roberts Was Wrong About Healthcare to get a complete and concise analysis. Interested parties should also contact their congressional figures and ask them to join with Senator Lee to defund ObamaCare.
The author writes for American Thinker. She has done book reviews and author interviews and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.