First off, two exceedingly relevant quotes:
"It is amazing that people who think we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and medication somehow think that we can afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, medication and a government bureaucracy to administer "universal health care.""
"An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy; because there is a limit beyond which no institution and no property can bear taxation. A question of constitutional power can hardly be made to depend on a question of more or less."Two random thoughts unjustly separated by centuries of time.
About the SCOTUS decision, I can't say that I was too much surprised by it, or by the fact that it was upheld as a Tax, rather than through further abuse of the commerce clause. Taxation was the only wooden leg it had to stand on, it was the one thing which Obamao swore up and down so often that it absolutely was not, a tax... and was the one thing he promptly turned around and sent his solicitor to sell it as - a tax.
(The one potentially encouraging news of the day may be that the SCOTUS decision to call it a tax, may initiate a devastating series of attacks)
To save the U.S., We The People need to relearn the ideas which had to be understood in order for our nation to be founded in the first place. If we don't understand what our Rights are & what they mean, how can we possibly expect our govt to respect them? If We The People don't understand the nature of our Rights, then our Rights will be unknown.
It's just basic math.
It was already late when I got to sit down and begin reading through the decision, but fortunately my usual go-to Justice, Justice Thomas, had only a small addition to the dissent and it was short and sweet and right on target, taking up an entire paragraph:
JUSTICE THOMAS, dissenting.
I dissent for the reasons stated in our joint opinion, but I write separately to say a word about the Commerce Clause. The joint dissent and THE CHIEF JUSTICE correctly apply our precedents to conclude that the IndividualMandate is beyond the power granted to Congress un-der the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause. Under those precedents, Congress may regulate“economic activity [that] substantially affects interstatecommerce.” United States v. Lopez, 514 U. S. 549, 560 (1995). I adhere to my view that “the very notion of a ‘substantial effects’ test under the Commerce Clause is inconsistent with the original understanding of Congress’ powers and with this Court’s early Commerce Clause cases.” United States v. Morrison, 529 U. S. 598, 627 (2000) (THOMAS, J., concurring); see also Lopez, supra, at 584–602 (THOMAS, J., concurring); Gonzales v. Raich, 545 U. S. 1, 67–69 (2005) (THOMAS, J., dissenting). As I have explained, the Court’s continued use of that test “has encouraged the Federal Government to persist in its view that the Commerce Clause has virtually no limits.” Morrison, supra, at 627. The Government’s unprecedentedclaim in this suit that it may regulate not only economic activity but also inactivity that substantially affects interstate commerce is a case in point.The main dissent, written by, I think, Scalia, I was only able to begin, but the beginning is promissing, with:
... The case is easy and straightforward, however, in another respect. What is absolutely clear, affirmed by thetext of the 1789 Constitution, by the Tenth Amendmentratified in 1791, and by innumerable cases of ours in the 220 years since, is that there are structural limits upon federal power—upon what it can prescribe with respect to private conduct, and upon what it can impose upon thesovereign States. Whatever may be the conceptual limitsupon the Commerce Clause and upon the power to taxand spend, they cannot be such as will enable the Federal Government to regulate all private conduct and to compel the States to function as administrators of federal programs.and, on "The Individual Mandate":
That clear principle carries the day here. The striking case of Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U. S. 111 (1942), whichheld that the economic activity of growing wheat, even for one’s own consumption, affected commerce sufficientlythat it could be regulated, always has been regarded as the ne plus ultra of expansive Commerce Clause jurisprudence. To go beyond that, and to say the failure to grow wheat (which is not an economic activity, or any activityat all) nonetheless affects commerce and therefore can befederally regulated, is to make mere breathing in and out the basis for federal prescription and to extend federal power to virtually all human activity.
As for the constitutional power to tax and spend for the general welfare: The Court has long since expandedthat beyond (what Madison thought it meant) taxing and spending for those aspects of the general welfare that werewithin the Federal Government’s enumerated powers, see United States v. Butler, 297 U. S. 1, 65–66 (1936).Thus, we now have sizable federal Departments devoted to subjects not mentioned among Congress’ enumeratedpowers, and only marginally related to commerce: the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Housing and UrbanDevelopment. The principal practical obstacle that prevents Congress from using the tax-and-spend power to assume all the general-welfare responsibilities traditionally exercised by the States is the sheer impossibility of managing a Federal Government large enough to administer such a system. That obstacle can be overcome bygranting funds to the States, allowing them to administer the program. That is fair and constitutional enough whenthe States freely agree to have their powers employed andtheir employees enlisted in the federal scheme. But it is a blatant violation of the constitutional structure when the States have no choice."
... If this provision “regulates” anything, it is the failure to maintain minimum essential coverage. One might argue that it regulates that failure by requiring it to be accompanied by payment of a penalty. But that failure—that abstention from commerce—is not “Commerce.” To be sure, purchasing insurance is ”Commerce”; but one does not regulate commerce that does not exist by compelling its existence.So Now What
In Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. 1, 196 (1824), Chief Justice Marshall wrote that the power to regulate commerce is the power “to prescribe the rule by whichcommerce is to be governed.” That understanding is con- sistent with the original meaning of “regulate” at the time of the Constitution’s ratification, when “to regulate” meant“[t]o adjust by rule, method or established mode,” 2 N.Webster, An American Dictionary of the English Language (1828); “[t]o adjust by rule or method,” 2 S. Johnson,A Dictionary of the English Language (7th ed. 1785); “[t]oadjust, to direct according to rule,” 2 J. Ash, New and Complete Dictionary of the English Language (1775); “toput in order, set to rights, govern or keep in order,” T.Dyche & W. Pardon, A New General English Dictionary (16th ed. 1777).1 It can mean to direct the manner of something but not to direct that something come into being. There is no instance in which this Court or Congress (or anyone else, to our knowledge) has used “regulate”in that peculiar fashion. If the word bore that meaning, Congress’ authority “[t]o make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces,” U. S. Const., Art. I, §8, cl. 14, would have made superfluous the later provision for authority “[t]o raise and supportArmies,” id., §8, cl. 12, and “[t]o provide and maintain a Navy,” id., §8, cl. 13.
We do not doubt that the buying and selling of health insurance contracts is commerce generally subject to federal regulation. But when Congress provides that (nearly) all citizens must buy an insurance contract, it goes beyond “adjust[ing] by rule or method,” Johnson, supra, or “direct[ing] according to rule,” Ash, supra; it directs the creation of commerce.
I'll direct you to my two previous posts this week, Two posts this week on just that: "You have No 'Constitutional Rights'. None. Nada." and "Rights from the source... so to speak", and remind all, that this election isn't just about good and bad political policy, but about fundamental philosophy, and it pits us against a deliberately destructive (to principles of American governance), consciously anti-American administration. That's a situation that requires us as voters to do more than express our disapproval at the ballot box, it requires that we use our ballots in self-defense - it must be stopped.
Simply registering support for other candidates and ideas is inadequate, the current proregressive direction we're heading down must be stopped, and the only way of doing that, that I can see, is by putting my x by the ballot option most likely to have a chance of DEFEATing Obama.
Not registering disapproval, Defeating.
Voting is Not our primary responsibility as citizens however, it is not enough to Vote and go home until the next election; a citizen must put effort into supporting and spreading the ideas they see as important so that when the next election comes around, those ideas might be more reflected in the options on the ballot - and in the people voting on them.
I'll continue as best as I can, working to spread the ideas that enabled our nation to be founded in the first place, trying to educate people on what our govt Should be, and YOU must do the same.
It is the only way that we can rid ourselves of candidates such as Obama AND Romney.
That is the only alternative we have open to us, the only one there has ever been - to push back against the real power that has always been opposing us, philosophy and its rusty needle of public education which has been used to mainline anti-American ideals into our intellectual bloodstream.
America is a nation of ideas. That is, and always has been, the only place we have been open to any real damaging attack, it is the never-ending battle, and we've barely fired a shot on this battlefield for over 150 yrs, though we have been shot and wounded upon it, repeatedly.
Our first critical wound struck us back in the early 1800's, when Justice Taney decided in "Charles River Bridge v. Warren Bridge" to render his judgment against Property Rights for the 'greater good', at which point Daniel Webster muttered that that was
"The death of property rights".We suffered a more dire wound with Justice Taney's next winner of a 'judgment' in deciding that Dred Scott was justified in being considered property, not man. The greatest tragedy of the Civil War that followed that, is that we never really understood the nature of the battle we were engaged in.
We thought it was simply a shooting war. We couldn't have been more wrong. As impressive and destructive as the shooting war was, the real war was going on in philosophy and education, and they absolutely won the field, with the Morrill Act for Land Grant Colleges being passed, as a war measure, with the intent of making thoughts of rebellion impossible from there out... they literally established Federal input into the Educational system of America, in order to influence and control the ideas our children would be taught.
There were other cases: the Louisiana Slaughter Houses cases, Plessy v. Ferguson, and the next big hit, the 1907 case Wilson v. Shaw, where the SCOTUS officially gave Congress the power "to construct interstate highways" under its newly discovered constitutional right to regulate interstate commerce. With the constitution in such a walking-wounded state as that, the 16th & 17th amendments gutted it of its defenses, and its demise was plain to see when Justice McReynolds took grievous note of our condition in 1935 when FDR stuck the dagger in with the Gold Clause cases, taking a hold of powers he had ABSOLUTELY NO constitutional power to take. McReynolds said then that:
"Congress had no power to destroy the gold clause commitment. FDR is Nero at its worse. As for the Constitution, it doesn't seem to much to say, that it is gone"And he was right. It was.
We've only just realized it today.
Does anyone really think that people getting riled up over this decision, is going to change all of that? At the ballot box?! Does anyone really think... that we can regain all of that lost ground back, simply by voting For (___ insert useless candidate name here)?
Sorry, but as good for the soul as laughter can be, that won't even stifle a sneeze, let alone reanimate our Constitution or the American people.
But it is a start, and one we have to take. I just caution against heaping too much 'hope and change' upon it. The coming elections, and the candidates we'll have to choose from, will likely not be anyone or anything we want to battle for, but they will serve as political beach heads & fox holes, nothing more. We've got to take them, and hold their ground, but never think that they are what we are fighting for.
Tactical ground, nothing more.
We've got a long, long, haul ahead of us. No shortcuts. No marketing solutions. We either take the time and effort to learn again what it means to be an American, or we leave it to ferment for a thousand years for the next people to give it a whirl.
Sorry, no time to link cases and references up, I'll be lucky to run SpellCheck, will try to in the morning. Maybe add a cheerier conclusion too. We'll see.
But let me add just one more note. With all the talk of the 'Death of Liberty', the 'Death of the Constitution', of 'Freedom of Choice has met it's Death Panel', while in some sense, that may be true, there's something else to keep in mind: The nice thing about a Constitution is that it isn't itself a living breathing creature - it lives and breathes through us, through We The People, and if we awaken ourselves, if we fill ourselves again with the ideas which originally animated our Constitution, then it may become the Once and Future Constitution.
It is, as it always was, up to We The People to decide.