In the aftermath of last week’s abhorrent Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare, many conservatives are inadvertently contributing to the outrage by now referring to it as “constitutional.” Admittedly, once those on the political left seemingly gained the upper hand in this debate, they have unequivocally asserted that this monstrosity is as inherently American as the Fourth of July. Yet other dark moments in this nation’s history prove that the court has no real power to alter the unconstitutionality or moral impact of bad policy. It can either recognize the truth, or duplicitously seek to find a way to deny or circumvent the truth. What it cannot do is actually change the truth.
At several key junctures in America’s past, the court sought to do just that. Among its most infamous undertakings of this nature was the reprehensible “Dred Scott” decision of 1857, which determined that slaves were not citizens but merely “property” and thus had no rights of citizenship. In like manner, the court invented a “right to privacy” in its monstrous “Roe v. Wade” abortion decision of 1973, essentially demanding that the nation turn a blind eye to the mass slaughter of the unborn.
A veneer of “legal” validation, no matter how elaborately concocted, does nothing to right incontrovertible wrongs when they are committed on an official basis. The injustice suffered by Dred Scott was in no way lessened by the court’s morally and philosophically bankrupt decision. Nor was the real underlying goal of the court achieved, which was to dissipate the rising tensions between North and South. In our modern era, the horror and brutality of human abortion is not diminished by the court’s willful misinterpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment. Rather, it dehumanized a helpless segment of our society more thoroughly than any other legislative or judicial action since before the Civil War.
In the same sense, by its June 28 decision, the Supreme Court neither established nor proved a constitutional basis for the implementation of socialized medicine in America. It is wholly incapable of doing so for no such basis exists. In actuality, it simply chose to completely ignore the glaringly unconstitutional aspects of Obamacare, thus allowing its detestable premises to be unleashed upon the American people. Ultimately, its adverse effects on the nation will be just as real, and just as horrendous, despite the officious “fig leaf” placed upon it by Chief Justice John Roberts and the other four leftists on the Court.
It was no surprise that Stephen Breyer and Ruth Ginsburg (Clinton appointees), along with Sonia Sotamayor and Elena Kagan (Barack Obama’s additions to the Court) were completely comfortable giving their stamp of approval to Obamacare. As committed leftists who have a complete and longstanding disdain for the Constitution they swore to uphold, their ongoing decisions regularly reflect a desire to implement the liberal agenda through judicial fiat. Sadly, their willingness to offer decisions rooted in outlandish and unsupportable arguments in lieu of any constitutional principle, and ultimately stemming from their personal preferences, is no longer even a matter of controversy among the general populace.
However, much speculation surrounds the curious behavior of Roberts in casting the deciding vote in favor of the Obama agenda. This is an understandable reaction from the public, since it is clear that he could not have seriously believed that mass confiscation and redistribution of the wealth of the people, perpetrated in order to give unaccountable bureaucrats absolute authority over life and death personal decisions, was ever believed by the founders to be within the jurisdiction of government. Simply put, Roberts must have been driven by some ulterior motive, but apparently nobody knows just what it could have been.
If Roberts’ intention was to preserve the integrity of the nation’s High Court, he failed miserably. It was hardly reinforced as a mainstay of the American ideal by the twisted and contorted reasoning he offered as grounds for keeping Obamacare intact as a “tax.” Worse yet, by legitimizing this as a “tax” on inaction, it accrues a vast new expanse of governmental power under its authorization to raise revenue. By such logic, the Fourth, Eighth, and Tenth Amendments are immediately rendered null and void, since any unreasonable search and seizure or cruel and unusual punishment can hereafter be justified on the basis of “taxation.” Nor can the states interfere with any overreaching tyrannical federal activity if doing so infringes on the federal government’s ability to raise revenue.
Clearly the Roberts Court was the target of an unrelenting media barrage in recent months, the goal of which was to pressure its members into conformity with Obama’s far left ideology. But complicity with those tactics under any circumstances represents a betrayal of the nation. Rather than elevating the Court and keeping it above the political maelstrom, Roberts merely revealed his own intellectual and ethical limitations, and highlighted the manner in which the Court has been fundamentally blemished and tainted by those things, and will continue to be for at least as long as he is part of it.
Originalism, which is a determination to abide by the terms of the nation’s founding documents as they were initially intended, would have uplifted the court, even in the face of attacks and derision from Democrats and the liberal press. Activist decisions, judicial legislating, and evasion from abiding by its constitutional charter will only erode and eventually destroy its credibility, no matter how elaborately or academically such decisions are constructed and rationalized. When the court places its stamp of approval onto a 2,700-page piece of legislation that foundationally alters the American way of life at the behest of a lawless and power mongering government, this is judicial activism taken to an obscene new level.
Had Chief Justice Roberts been concerned with maintaining the high standing of the court, he could have ensured its integrity, regardless of very predictable caterwauling from the left. But he would have to remain committed to the proper role of the court, which is to ensure that all parties comply with the Constitution as our national charter, not enable the seditious efforts of those who seek to circumvent it. Sadly, Roberts neither improved the standing of Obamacare nor succeeded in preserving a once honorable institution that is now beyond reclamation on his watch.
Copyright ©2012 Christopher G. Adamo