Roberts' Gauntlet

"Well, Doctor, what have we got-a Republic or a Monarchy?"

"A Republic madam, if you can keep it." - Benjamin Franklin

This apocryphal exchange immediately came to mind as the events of the last week unfolded. What on earth was Chief Justice Roberts thinking? 

In the matter of Arizona's immigration law, the court left standing the ability of law enforcement in that state to check the citizenship status of those persons lawfully detained. In response, the Obama administration told the people of Arizona to go ahead and check but that the federal government would ignore them. This exposed the futility and impotence of the people to secure our borders when the federal government refuses to do so.

And what about the individual mandate? Roberts here had two very important concerns, the reputation of the Supreme Court and the expansion of the commerce clause. By siding with the liberal justices he preserved both. He immunized the court from criticism of being partisan and characterized the mandate as a tax thereby preserving the status quo of the commerce clause. He knew the American people would see the unanimous dissent of the other justices and understand that this was indeed an overreach by the Federal Government.

"Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness," Here he is telling us that he indeed believes that this bill is not  good law but that it is up to the American people to change or repeal it, not the Court. I think this is a brilliant move by Chief Justice Roberts. Now it is up to us if we can keep this republic.