It's been a couple of years since I commented on a political question here, and in general I intend to continue that. But I will say a few things about the Supreme Court decision today regarding the President's health care legislation.
> I'm greatly disappointed. Obviously you have your opinions, and mine is worth every penny you pay for it--but as a citizen (not, obviously, as a legal scholar)--I am appalled that this legislation was judged to be "constitutional." But I shouldn't have been surprised. This has been the trend in federal jurisprudence for many decades. Like many people, I was fooled into thinking we had better judges than we do. So it's good that the scales have fallen from my eyes, and those of others.
Now, some will say, wait--aren't you for health care? Of course I'm for everyone having health care. I am very much in favor of remedying the many problems. And it may be there are some elements of this law I would be in favor of. But there are--in my opinion--many problems with this, particular law, and as a citizen, I think the Constitution and the limits of federal authority should be respected. In my view, this law did not respect those limits.
And, yes, I'm aware a majority of the Supreme Court held otherwise. I respect their authority to hand down the decision. It doesn't mean I have to agree with their reasoning or result. And to the extent this law may lead to coercion of consciences, I am fully ready to object conscientiously and to pay the price of not obeying an unjust law.
That's what I said publicly about the HHS mandate, which arises out of this law, and that's still where I stand. They can send me to jail--I won't obey a law that violates my conscience! I won't force anyone else to participate in abortion, sterilization or contraception, and the government should not force me or anyone else to do so.
> I can't offer expertise but I find the dissent's argument that the mandate shouldn't be deemed a tax to be persuasive. But I haven't read Chief Justice Robert's argument, so I'll concede he may have a reasonable one.
> I won't hold my breath to see if all those who thought a 5-4 decision striking down Obamacare would be horrible, are now bewailing a 5-4 decision upholding it. It was a bogus argument, simply part of a larger campaign to mau-mau the Court. Now, of course, those who tried to pressure the Court will scoff at the notion that the Court bent to such pressure. But, you know, if you make threats to hurt someone, and that person actually is hurt, it's perfectly reasonable to treat you as a suspect. So I think it's perfectly reasonable to wonder if the Court gave in to intimidation. It wouldn't be the first time. So all those who said they didn't want this process to be politicized have, in fact, contributed to that.
> It was probably unreasonable, given the long arc of our nation's jurisprudence, to expect the High Court to strike down this law. A lot of us were guilty of "irrational exuberance."
> I can't help thinking of all those who have said for many years that Chief Justice Roberts can be counted on to be a solid vote to overturn the infamous Roe decision mandating abortion on demand. One of the long-standing arguments people make for voting for a GOP candidate for President, no matter what else one may find objectionable about him, we can expect good nominees to the Court, who will oppose the Roe decision and similar extremism. And when folks pointed to Roberts and Alito as examples of "good" appointees (from the perspective of abortion law), I said, wait, we don't know how they'll rule on Roe. I was scoffed at.
Well, I think I was right.
Of course, the Chief hasn't voted to sustain Roe, either; so we wait. But I've made the point many times that the GOP shouldn't be seen as reliable on judges. After all, five of the seven justices who gave us the Roe decision were GOP-appointed. And when that atrocious ruling was upheld in 1992, all five of the justices who did so, were Republican appointed! (Including Anthony Kennedy, whose turn it was to be the heart-breaker that year.)
Someone said to me, today, "yes, but at least there's a chance Romney's nominees will be better than Obama's." And, I suppose you can say that. But I find that thin gruel. That's all I'll say on that.
> This isn't the end of litigation.
My understanding is that there are many other grounds on which the health care law can--and almost certainly will--be challenged. Some of those are probably working their way through the courts already. Some of them, I'm guessing, won't begin to be litigated until more of the law takes effect. For example, once the mandate--whoops, it's a tax!--actually begins to be applied, someone might be able to file a relevant lawsuit. That's not my purview.
> Remember the forced-contraception mandate--it's still alive.
I admit I was wondering, yesterday, if I'd have to explain this weekend why we were still facing threats to religious freedom. I.e., if Obamacare had been struck down, then the HHS mandate would fall with it. Instead, litigation against that outrage continues. And from what I read, and my layman's understanding, I think we have a case. But let's remember, the courts don't like to stand up to the other branches. We must keep that in mind.
> Remember it's God's world and God remains in control. If you wonder why God runs things the way he does, you are in good company. All of us at various points wonder. If this decision really bothers you, remember there are folks who wonder why God allowed them to get sick, or to be unemployed, or to be homeless, or to suffer persecution, or why God allows violent and depraved acts against the innocent. Put your unhappiness at God not giving you what you wanted from the Supreme Court against those "why God?" questions.