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Sunday, September 25, 2016

WASHINGTON — Three days of Supreme Court arguments over the health care law demonstrated for all to see that conservative justices are prepared to act as an alternative legislature, diving deeply into policy details as if they were members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

Senator, excuse me, Justice Samuel Alito quoted Congressional Budget Office figures on Tuesday to talk about the insurance costs of the young. On Wednesday, Chief Justice John Roberts sounded like the House whip in discussing whether parts of the law could stand if other parts fell. He noted that without various provisions, Congress “wouldn’t have been able to put together, cobble together, the votes to get it through.” Tell me again, was this a courtroom or a lobbyist’s office?

It fell to the court’s liberals — the so-called “judicial activists,” remember? — to remind their conservative brethren that legislative power is supposed to rest in our government’s elected branches.

Justice Stephen Breyer noted that some of the issues raised by opponents of the law were about “the merits of the bill,” a proper concern of Congress, not the courts. And in arguing for restraint, Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked what was wrong with leaving as much discretion as possible “in the hands of the people who should be fixing this, not us.” It was nice to be reminded that we’re a democracy, not a judicial dictatorship.

The conservative justices were obsessed with weird hypotheticals. If the federal government could make you buy health insurance, might it require you to buy broccoli, health club memberships, cellphones, burial services and cars? All of which have nothing to do with an uninsured person getting expensive treatment that others — often taxpayers — have to pay for.

Liberals should learn from this display that there is no point in catering to today’s hard-line conservatives. The individual mandate was a conservative idea that President Obama adopted to preserve the private market in health insurance rather than move toward a government-financed single-payer system. What he got back from conservatives was not gratitude but charges of socialism — for adopting their own proposal.

The irony is that if the court’s conservatives overthrow the mandate, they will hasten the arrival of a more government-heavy system. Justice Anthony Kennedy even hinted that it might be more “honest” if government simply used “the tax power to raise revenue and to just have a national health service, single-payer.” Remember those words.

One of the most astonishing arguments came from Roberts, who spoke with alarm that people would be required to purchase coverage for issues they might never confront. He specifically cited “pediatric services” and “maternity services.”

Well, yes, men pay to cover maternity services while women pay for treating prostate problems. It’s called health insurance. Would it be better to segregate the insurance market along gender lines?

  • lexi001

    We are doomed! We can no longer depend on an independent Supreme Court. The money that has bought even our justices, has already destroyed this country we call a democracy. I literally feel sick. For a health-care plan that the Republicans themselves once endorsed to be torn apart by politics in our Supreme Court is tantamount to the total destruction of the rights of citizens. The erosion of our rights has been going on now very openly for some time. I don’t understand how this is being overlooked by so many.

  • ocbizlaw

    Lawmaking power does rest with the legislature but the Constitution limits that power to those powers enumerated in the Constitution. You certainly don’t feel it’s an activist court when it strikes down restrictions on abortion.

    • lexi001

      Don’t worry. They’re working towards doing just that. You people have no idea the freedoms you are willingly giving up based on the false belief that the “welfare bums” are depleting your paycheck. Big business is depleting your paychecks. How foolish can people possibly be?

      • ObozoMustGo

        To a leftist nutjob like you, “freedom” means “FREE” without working for it! I’d be happy to give up ANY hope or expectation of freebies from the government forever! I dont want your goodies and I dont want the hooks that come with dependency. Why do you leftist nutjobs continue to push the class warfare crap? It’s alway BIG [fill in the blank] against you or the rich against you, or some other strawman crap argument to stoke jealousy and envy. How many people work for businesses and put food on their tables and roofs over their head and gas in their cars for their efforts? Maybe ONE HUDRED MILLION or more???… You are either a government working stiff, an overpaid union thug, or one of the “welfare bums” you refer to. Why dont you quit viewing the world as one huge injustice and start figuring out ways to take care of yourself and your family like a responsible human would do? And quit making demands of me to pay for more and more of your failed ideas and failed social programs. Thank you. Have a nice day!

        • ottokristen

          Dear friend you sound very young and naive.Good luck to you with your freedom when you get sick.

          • ObozoMustGo

            You leftist nutjobs tend to always confuse socialism with private contracts for insurance. They are not the same. Private insurance is NOT socialistic no matter how hard you try to make it that. As to my age and health, you are dead wrong on that as you are on everything else. Whatever I have I have paid for on my own. No loser government programs needed or wanted!

          • ottokristen

            Hi dear Obozo MustGo Tell us more about it.But I tell you something about myself.
            I was born in Czecoslovakia in 1937,I lived through Nazi occupations when i lost some of my relatives to it and I lived through communist regime which I hated with all my heart.
            I am very suspicious and careful about any totalitarian system of government,but I have to tell you, that you don’t have to worry about a thing.You’re in good hands in spite of that you don’t like it, because you don’t have any other experience.Most of all you can ventilate your frustrations,because you’re free.
            If I would have ventilated my frustrations when I was young ,living in the old country, I would have been jailed for min 5 years.And with my big mouth I never would have made it out alive. To your calling me leftist nutjobs,I kind of like it.But could you at least write it with capitals letters ,like” Leftist Nut Jobs”.That’s the way I like it.(you should have it patented.)

          • ObozoMustGo

            God bless you Otto! Lefty or not, America is better for having you!

            Psssst…. Don’t tell anyone. The Leftist Nutjob stuff is just poking fun at you. 😉 ssshhhh! I don’t want lose my rep as a mean old conservative. Thanks.

            Have a great day, Otto!

  • Single payer system ,where there is a direct contact between providers and patients is the only sensible way. Insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and hospital/industrial complex are parasites which with their obscene salaries syphon money from patients who are treated as “consumers” without real free markets of care.

    Obama care complicates this inane super-expensive system (we pay 2-3 TIMES more than other developed countries which have UNIVERSAL health care independent from businesses), which has poor health outcomes: 37th in the World, right behind Cuba which pays 100 times LESS that we in US do! Scrap the entire system and introduce medicare for ALL before it was complicated and made more expensive by pharmaceutical companies with top dogs who make obscene salaries on pain and suffering being treated as “product”.

  • tobewan

    Conservatives are financial not religious, but should be reminded from an historically American book, a quote about the Samaritan and those who walked by on the other side.
    Man is made for morals, not finances, nor for partisanship.

  • artfulnotes

    Well, we have known for many years–at least since Scalia decided to appoint Bush President, that the Supremes were hopelessly corrupt and simply another extension of the Republican Guard–The Faux News Network acts as athe media sentry and the Supremes act as the court sentry. Nice huh?

  • paulzahn

    The activists that unconstitutionally legislate from the bench are the 4 Liberal activists that don’t want to follow the Constitution, they want to change it. The Justices following the Constitution are the ones fighting Obamacare, and someday Liberals might understand and appreciate how important that is.

    • ObozoMustGo

      paul… there you go again… talking sense… really need to stop that! 🙂

      • hybrid80

        Now then Ronny Obozo, the great communicator lost a few marbles towards the end, what stage are you at?

    • ottokristen

      The Constitution is a marvelous document.It’s written by very smart and intelligent men,but some almost 300 years ago.Why do you thing that once in a while there must be an amendment to it.Because it has to modernized.There is a amendment that should me amended and it’s the second.

      Stipulations of the 2nd Amendment:

      The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects the right of the individual to keep and bear firearms.

      The right to arm oneself is viewed as a personal liberty to deter undemocratic or oppressive governing bodies from forming and to repel impending invasions. Furthermore, the right to bear arms was instituted within the Bill of Rights to suppress insurrection, participate and uphold the law, enable the citizens of the United States to organize a militia, and to facilitate the natural right to self-defense.

      The Second Amendment was developed as a result of the tyrannous rule of the British parliament. Colonists were often oppressed and forced to pay unjust taxes at the hand of the unruly parliament. As a result, the American people yearned for an Amendment that would guarantee them the right to bear arms and protect themselves against similar situations. The Second Amendment was drafted to provide for the common defense and the general welfare of the United States through the ability to raise and support militias.
      ——————————————————————————————————–
      And Amen to that.
      So you see, we in United States are still fighting the British.(and blacks and Latino and so on).

      • The Right to Bear Arms was also created to protect us from the tryanny of our own Government. The Founders had much forsight and thought into our Bill of Rights, because they studied & understood the loss of Freedom & Liberty from a too powerful Federal Government. The First 10 Bill of Rights are NOT Amendments in reality, there were put into the Constitution originally so States that were distrustful of a too powerful Central Fed. Gov. would agre to the Constitution.

      • The Right to Bear Arms was also created to protect us from the tryanny of our own Government. The Founders had much forsight and thought into our Bill of Rights, because they studied & understood the loss of Freedom & Liberty from a too powerful Federal Government. The First 10 Bill of Rights are NOT Amendments in reality, there were put into the Constitution originally so States that were distrustful of a too powerful Central Fed. Gov. would agre to the Constitution.

    • hybrid80

      They understand only too well how important the Republican desire to kill the Obama Health Care is, that and every other social program that separates the common man from the dictates of the robber barons.

  • tleeb

    Ironic, isn’t it, that the same conservatives who, for years, have been lamenting our “activist judges,” are now applauding the justices at the prospect that they may “legislate from the bench.” The hypocrisy is very foul-tasting.

  • EdC

    If played right, and the puppet Republican Judges kill the mandate, this can come around and really bite them in the hindermost portion. The Repugs seem to think all their controlling ideas, Kill social security, kill medicare, kill contreception and so on, plus another push for war in Iran and Yeman are what the public wants. These items together, I believe will almost run them out of office, and then, like every single other civilizen country in the world, we will have one payer health care. Even Cuba has a lower infant mortality rate then we do. It wouldn’t hurt my feelings that the party that wants to put us back three centuries, would get moved out of office.

  • EdC

    Explain yourself, it is obivious that the conservative judges, who go to partisan parties, and sponser Republican conventions are runing strickly for the Republican party, which in turn is in the pocket, not of business, but of big multi-national corporations.

  • jmprint

    “The conservative justices were obsessed with weird hypotheticals. If the federal government could make you buy health insurance, might it require you to buy broccoli, health club memberships, cellphones, burial services and cars? All of which have nothing to do with an uninsured person getting expensive treatment that others — often taxpayers — have to pay for.”

    This comment is so not apple to apple. Needing medical help is not a choice, it’s a necessity, just like taxes is to having government. They couldn’t exist without our taxes. How do judges get payed, I’m sure it comes from tax money.

  • if these judges don’t uphold this, i’ll hope and pray they would drop de on the floor of the chamber, this conservative view must stop

    • ObozoMustGo

      You leftist nutjobs are soooooo civil! hehehehehehehehehehe

      • hybrid80

        Flattery will avail you nothing

  • One of the best articles I have read in a very long time. I listened to the 85+ minutes available on the web and came away with the feeling that America’s humanity was at stake – that the informality of the Justices “dialog” was (or would have been if the stakes were not so high) dogmatic, previously paid-for twitter. America is not just for sale, but bought and sold. lexioo1 is correct – we are at the least in danger of loosing our sense of social balance and what is right.

  • ObozoMustGo

    EJ… There you go again… Spinning the exact opposite of what is true. Question: Each Supreme Court Justice takes an oath. What does that oath say? I’ll save you the time. This is what it says: “I, _________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

    So at what point, EJ, did adhering to one’s oath become “activist”???? The SCOTUS’s duty is exactly to rule on whether or not laws enacted by Congress are in fact, Constitutional. THAT’S WHAT THEY DO, YOU MORON! And Obozocare is clearly unconstitutional. And without a sevarbility clause, the whole thing must be thrown out. No rewriting. No nothing. Throw the entire 2700 page monstrousity, that NO ONE EVEN READ before voting on it, out! It is a disaster for America.

    You want talk about legislating from the bench? Where the hell do I begin? Howabout with that leftist nutjob Ruth Ginsberg? Did you listen to her coaching Verilli on what he needs to say and then pondering how she’s going find the “good parts” of the law to keep? A justice that wants to cut and paste to make a new law IS LEGISLATING FROM THE BENCH!!!! Or… Go back to the days when the spawn of the devil himself FDR was in office, and look at the disasterous ruling in Wickard V. Fillburn where those morons said not doing something was doing something and affecting commerce. All because they wanted to keep the guy from growing his own food. THAT’S judicial activism.

    EJ, a lot of time I like and respect your writing, even though you come from a different perspective. But this one, you have gone way out of bounds in an effort to be too obviously carrying Obozo’s water. Too bad!

    Have a nice day!

    • ottokristen

      Hey,Obozo my friend,what kind of health insurance do you have ?Let me in on it.It must be a good one.NO deductibles ,eh?

      • ObozoMustGo

        Hi Otto:

        Please see my other posts on this where I explain that what we have is NOT insurance. We have prepaid healthcare. Tired of typing on my iPhone. C u later!

        • hybrid80

          I wonder why everybody doesn’t have prepaid healthcare? Oh wait a minute! —- I know —- it takes cash! So instead of paying the huge premiums of private enterPRIZE insurance, one just plunks down a small fortune (I presume) and deprives all their hard workers of their livelihood instead.

    • hybrid80

      Too bad the Republican appointed jurists didn’t stick to their oath.

      Do you plan in time to accept your Social Security check also spawned by the “devil
      himself”.

      Which part of EJ’s writings do you “like and respect” pray tell?

      Anyway I’ll bet Obama’s water is worth a lot more than the real spawn of the devil W’s ever was.

      Have a nice confused day

  • It is not so surprising that the political group the screams “judicial activists,” have given us “judicial activists,” that is what they do. So while they deny wanting to let people without insurance die, in truth they really, really do not care who dies as long as they do not have to contribute to the greater good of our society. What bothers me more than anything about this whole conversation is the ignorance of the Judges, to say why should I pay for maternity or pediatric care, shows how little they understand about how insurance works. Insurance policies packages are designed to meet the needs of large groups of people, not individuals; it is the only way the insurer can make a profit, so anyone getting health insurance through an employer, or people like Roberts on a government policy (paid by the tax payers), is and always has paid for services that they will never use. In our employer based system the cost of insurance is based on the number of employee and the status of their health (Insurance companies will actually look at past use of insurance when contracting with new companies). This method hurts small employers much more than the larger ones and is why so many small employers can no longer afford to offer health insurance. The small employer, let’s say 20 employees, only needs one or two employee to a have serious and expensive illnesses that need ongoing treatment (cancer, diabetes) for the cost of their insurance to sky-rocket. Health insurance companies bet on people staying healthy and not using the services they are selling to increase their profit; that is why they have so many “tricks” to get rid of the more expensive people to insure. It makes me sad to hear the Justices ask questions that mirror the “Republican taking points,” it also make me wonder if any of them even understand what they are talking about. In my opinion not a very good base for making a decision about anything connected with health care. I would feel much better if they were talking about why using a mandate helps keep prices down and what the purpose of it is. But what I really what to know is what does all that have to do with whether or not the mandate is constitutional and aligned with established law?

    • You nailed it. God help us

    • pattycee

      Elsa, you said in very few words and very succinctly I might add what so many of us are thinking. You sound like you really do know what you are talking about. Do you ever write to the Justices or Senators or Congress? You should if you don’t, it really can make a difference. The more we get into the habit of writing to these people and stating facts like this the more they HAVE to listen. Some people say it doesn’t make any difference but I beg to differ. Whether they listen or not, it makes me feel better!

  • seymourhiney

    The court was much about nothing. Talking broccoli , rather than law.

  • Scalia was the worst. It really was shocking how far he overstepped the bounds of judicial temperament and restraint.

  • And it was, indeed, an odd day for conservatives who have lambasted judicial activism to presume the power of the legislature, going so far as to count GOP Senate votes — and say so out loud. They lost all pretense of balance.

  • jimackermann

    Let me try this on. The leftys passed a bill they haden’t read and the majority of the people don’t want. Then the clever little girls exempted themselves from what they are shoving down Americas throat. And you are worried about the fairness of the Supreme Court. I’m worried about the fainess of Congress. Careful what you wish for. You might have to live with it.

    • ObozoMustGo

      Jim… what’s wrong with you? You’re not supposed to throw common sense back in the faces of the leftist nutjobs! Didn’t you know that? They get upset and then mock you by asking if you drive a pickup truck, or are so neanderthal that you own guns. Give the nutjobs on this site enough time and they’ll reveal how stupid and ignorant they really are.

      Have great day, Jim!

  • tesla33

    As a Canadian, who lived in the US for a few years, I am baffled by the resistance of many in the US, to universal health care. It is under Provincial (State) control here and I pay NOTHING per month for unlimited Healthcare. In Canada, those who earn more generally pay a higher tax rate at both the Provincial & Federal level.

    Our Provincial (Ontario) income tax rate is 5% up to $40k/yr.
    I recall paying $800/month for a medium Health Plan in CA (it didn’t cover everything).
    (5% of $40k = ~$2k) vs ($9,600/year for US Healthcare + State taxes),
    Even @ $80k I would only pay 9% or $3,600 in tax in Ontario, 1/3rd of what you pay for Healthcare alone – NOT counting State taxes (@$37k you pay 8% in CA).

    So in CA you would pay (@$40k/yr) – $3,200 in taxes and $9,600 for Healthcare = $12,800/year — the tax equivalent of 32%.
    SO that means that even with FREE Healthcare we pay only 5% to your 32% tax rate….
    Plug in whatever numbers you want, the numbers come out the same.

    What makes even less sense is that those who complain the loudest about Universal Healthcare would benefit the most – they would pay lower taxes, get complete Heathcare, pay no monthly Health tax – and EVERY US CITIZEN is covered. Even if they pay higher taxes, it still wouldn’t be as expensive as the current Health insurance.

    • ottokristen

      Hi fellow Canadian,same as you I lived in US and still now I live half of my retired life here in Florida.6 months here and 6 months in Canada.I am concerned about destiny of this country which is my second home.As you know what happens here it happens as a back lash in our country.I tried to post an article above and I was told that it has to be checked by moderator.Are we having a censorship here?Otto

      • tesla33

        Otto; I don’t think you need to worry, Canada will NOT be going to a private health system, even with a Conservative gov’t. Also, there are moderators on almost all sites on the Internet that accept comments from the public, nothing odd about that, so relax — no censorship here, they are just making sure people stay civil! If the US Supreme Court strikes down the ‘forced payments’ aspect of the bill maybe the only option is to offer Healthcare for FREE for ALL US Citizens, just like every other Western country. Time for the US to catch up to the rest of the ‘FREE’ World.

  • 49erca

    This is a perfect example of Judicial review. How one person makes a decision for 310 million people. And you cant vote them out of office. Judicial review …this derives from the power of the Supreme Court to interpret the Constitution -a right that doesn’t figure in the Text of the Constitution but which derives from Chief Justice John Marshall’s ruling in Marbury v. Madison.

  • I have heard talk of disconnection among these comments found among other discourses, This is one of the worst of the disconnections I have ever encountered. The supposed Chief Justices of our land meting out a verdict while discussing how their thoughts on Government making them pay for healthcare seem to ramble to broccoli and gymnasiums… The conservative wealthy have never found religion unless it was convenient to them. Today is like any other the wealthy will spout how they believe in GOD and their various philosophies while ignoring the Majority of what they call the New Testament the testament that supposedly saves them and requires them to go forth and sin no more… While they pass the Jewish traveler on the side of the road injured, that even the “Good” Samaritan would stop to help. They conveniently forget the rest of their philosophy and would “KILL” to Stop Abortion. But not to help their fellow human. Today I am ashamed of the Christian Right I am not Angry. I am Ashamed to have been raised a Baptist. My people have forsaken their philosophy for the Conservative hateful rhetoric of the KKK… This will end in a putrefication of the Body of Christs Church they are no longer Christians in the Eyes of God or in God’s philosophy they do not know what it was to be Christian any longer They have not read the book they so adamantly espouse.

  • For several decades the battle cry of the Republican brand has been personal responsibility. Well here are today finding the first time the Congress tries to get the freeloaders off the backs of the American taxpayer and those with health care insurance the GOP runs to the Supremes begging for relief. Give me a break you phonies. If the ACA is repealed the Robers court will become the most partisan (if it isn’t already) and activist in modern history. Dumping personal responsibility after dacades of decrying the nanny-state and other nonsensical fictions would be amusing except for the destructive results. Up is down, and left is right in bazarro world. Well perhaps at least we won’t have to listen to the flase canard of personal responsibility anymore. It won’t fly as an effective talking point after this fiasco in the Supreme Court. Nice going Tea Party, you’ve guaranteed another generation of dead beats sucking off the citizens who pay taxes and take part in the workings of our society. Be careful what you’ve asked for…you might just get it.

  • RichardLeff

    I find it disingenuous for anyone to argue that that the government can’t mandate universal health care, directing that all US citizens pay for health care coverage, when most, if not all, states require purchase of automobile liability insurance (and if not all, then those which do not should be mandated to do so), when all workers are required to pay into the Social Security system, which is a mandated payment toward a pension (and frankly, many of us would rather, at least until the Bush economic blow out of 2008, have been allowed to self-direct our “pension” contributions) and, when all workers are required to purchase Medicare “insurance” coverage.

    There is no difference between a Medicare mandate and a UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE mandate, except that we choose to designate the first as a “TAX” but we don’t declare the second to be a tax (obviously for political reasons, since the Tea Party-Norquist people abhor imposition of a tax even though most of them don’t know (or have the capacity to know) that they are cutting off their noses to spite their faces.

    And we can’t call universal health care premiums a tax, even though social security benefit “premiums” are called a tax because then the “Right” claims that to do so would make us “socialists.”

    I am reminded of a “Sesame Street” skit from long ago, when I had to watch that program while feeding my son (close to 30 years ago) which involved two “creatures” of different heights and capabilities trying to get fruit off of a tree to feed themselves; one was tall and had no hands and one was short but had hands-or something like that; anyhow, one could reach and grab the fruit but couldn’t feed him/herself (no more PC after this) and the other could feed both. Obviously, the skit was to teach kids about cooperation. So the two creatures asked each other what they should call what they did to combine to allow each to feed off of the fruit. One said: “Let’s call it cooperation;” the other said: “No, let’s call it Shirley.”

    The point is, I guess, that if we designate this mandate as one thing it may not pass muster, but if we call it a tax it would; so call a “penalty” a tax. A rose by any other name is still a rose.

    And, finally, I can’t imagine how people with no health insurance coverage (and maybe no teeth) can object to getting proper and necessary health care coverage.

    Apparently, according to Ryan and Boehner and Kantor and McConnell, et al, (not to mention Norquist) let the haves have and the have nots continue to have not. And, by the way, why the hell am I paying for their health insurance for life-not to mention a pension.

    • ottokristen

      I can not agree more with Richard,he is right.One of these days the supreme court will decide about Obama’s health care,The question is if it’s constitutional or not to make people, under a penalty, to become a part of the all national health care.There is a legitimate question for some,but as Richard says: what is the difference between forcing people to have a car insurance, or to pitch in with nation wide health insurance. You can argue that if you don’t want to drive ,you don’t need car insurance. Than you have to ask how many people don’t want to drive and how many people don’t want to have any health insurance and want to just die without any help.
      I can not believe what some of the supreme justices are actually saying. Sometimes
      it seems to me they sound like sophomore students of law and not persons with life experiences and wisdom. Or did they live a pampered lives of isolation from everyday struggle of common people as I ? Probably so.
      If they try to reject Obama’s health care, which is already taken for granted by most of the nation, it could be compared as to showing to a dog a bone with a lot of meat on it, as a tease and than to take it away and hide it.
      Did you ever try to take a dog bone away from a dog which does not belong to you? Don’t! You may lose your fingers.
      But I don’t thing we have to worry too much about the whole matter.There is an ancient law called AIA, (implemented year 1793) Anti-Injunction Act which has to do with the government tax law.To narrow it down, you have to pay your taxes before you can claim it unjust and sue the government to get your money back.The health care law doesn’t kick in till 2014,you did not pay anything yet,so you have no ground for suing the government. Tough luck.
      I wouldn’t expect speedy decision,because it would look like too much of an easy job,than one could say:”Hey ,if they can decide so fast about this,what are they doing all that time when there is nothing to decide?” I can say all this because I am of age and to some of the justices probably older. By the way why don’t we send messages to Supreme Court? All of us!

  • Lawrence has the last word and does an excellent job to bring focus to core issue of current Affordable Health Care law. It called politics not constitutional law! As Justice Cardoza wrote, “Needs that were narrow or parochial a century ago may be interwoven in our day with the well-being of the nation” in its 7-2 Court opinion to hold Social Security.” What is critical or urgent changes with the times…. The purge of nationwide calamity that began in 1929 has taught us many lessons. Not the least is the solidarity of interests that may once have seemed to be divided.”

    The Constitution’s commerce clause defines the limits of congressional authority, but its application.?.. As President Roosevelt pointed out at that time, “”The country was in the horse and buggy period when that clause was written.”Probably 80 or 90% of the human beings in the 13 original states were completely self-supporting.” Constitutional interpretation, he maintained, had to keep up with “present-day civilization.”

    We need to remind all that the individual mandate in question was a conservative idea that unfortunately President Obama adopted to preserve the private market in health insurance rather than move toward a government-financed single-payer system. The irony is that if the court’s conservatives overthrow the mandate, they will hasten the arrival of a more government-heavy system.
    “That’s the heart of the debate the court will have to undertake as listens to oral arguments over the Affordable Care Act: whether it wishes to rest on principles with a reach not far beyond the 19th century, or adjust them to the undeniable realities of the 21st.”

    Unfortunately, this Robert’s Court has turned into nothing more than a disrespected group of Political legal interest representatives that now serves as a rubber stamp for their own political views in the Congress! This institution has destroyed its own creditability and integrity in its failure to make decisions based upon the constitution and now functions as activists with little respect or regard for established laws! This judicial body is no longer relevant and has dishonored itself as an independent branch of U.S. govt! They need to be reminded that we’re a democracy, not a judicial dictatorship to buy broccoli!

  • Mr. Dionne does an excellent job to bring focus to core issue of current Affordable Health Care law. It called politics not constitutional law! As Justice Cardoza wrote, “Needs that were narrow or parochial a century ago may be interwoven in our day with the well-being of the nation” in its 7-2 Court opinion to hold Social Security.” What is critical or urgent changes with the times…. The purge of nationwide calamity that began in 1929 has taught us many lessons. Not the least is the solidarity of interests that may once have seemed to be divided.”

    The Constitution’s commerce clause defines the limits of congressional authority, but its application.?.. As President Roosevelt pointed out at that time, “”The country was in the horse and buggy period when that clause was written.”Probably 80 or 90% of the human beings in the 13 original states were completely self-supporting.” Constitutional interpretation, he maintained, had to keep up with “present-day civilization.”

    We need to remind all that the individual mandate in question was a conservative idea that unfortunately President Obama adopted to preserve the private market in health insurance rather than move toward a government-financed single-payer system. The irony is that if the court’s conservatives overthrow the mandate, they will hasten the arrival of a more government-heavy system.
    “That’s the heart of the debate the court will have to undertake as listens to oral arguments over the Affordable Care Act: whether it wishes to rest on principles with a reach not far beyond the 19th century, or adjust them to the undeniable realities of the 21st.”

    Unfortunately, this Robert’s Court has turned into nothing more than a disrespected group of Political legal interest representatives that now serves as a rubber stamp for their own political views in the Congress! This institution has destroyed its own creditability and integrity in its failure to make decisions based upon the constitution and now functions as activists with little respect or regard for established laws! This judicial body is no longer relevant and has dishonored itself as an independent branch of U.S. govt! They need to be reminded that we’re a democracy, not a judicial dictatorship to buy broccoli!

  • Personally, I hate the GOPstapo and see no reason to compete with them like their Democratic brethren to the left of the hyphen do. A lot of what is being stated here is just that – e.g., exaggerations if not misrepresentations bordering on ad hominem insult. People that want to compete that way ought to just Duke it out and then kiss, smooch and have a drink together as great buddies afterwards. O wait that’s what they do now !! The general impression I was left with – listening to some of the oral arguments – is that the Court is essentially thinking out loud – viz., wtf does Congress do this to us. It is indeed very similar to the situation created by the campaign finance reform law passed in the 1970s. Congress gets so far, which is almost always the present day Democratics compromising with the GOPstapo – it’s like they can’t resist, like a guy flashing his wad looking to get rolled. The GOPstapo just wait for the sign and then it’s the GOPstapo along with their KKK brethren telling them yeah yeah that’s it, that’s the ticket, so they agree, pat each other on the back drool down their Lonsdales while the GOPstatpo runs off to the cloak room carrying on in ecstasy and joy like little bare assed cherubs prancing in the cool showers on a hot summer day: because Now it’s going to the Court where it comes down to 9 people rather than 535 – kind of like the way NYS does budgets, there it comes down to 3. And like the Citizens United case providing the opportunity to say O look it’s them, blame it on the Court. But it doesn’t surprise me that the Democratics carry on now as they do regarding the Citizens United case which Hillary set up for them. If any of you bothered to read that case what the Democratic Party was/is advocating is the creation of a prerogative for a Federal commission to censor and essentially ban films made by corporations, so personally, I’m happy that Justice Kennedy handled that matter the way he did. I like the 1st Amendment and paradoxically it’s the Democratic party that is always limiting it’s scope. If you want to regulate the commerce of political campaigns use the commerce clause. As far as this health care biz goes – I missed that statement the writer attributes to J Kennedy regarding single payer and taxation. If that’s what he said, then I agree.

    • tomtrilobite

      Thanks for your very thoughtful post. I’m not particularly happy with the result reached in the Citizens United case, but it does cause us to have to decide questions about the limits of free speech, and I do applaud the court for taking the position that there should be damned few restrictions on that. It bodes well for future First Amendment cases coming before the Court.

  • waffenss

    What I see is both sides of the isle sucking off the healthcare lobby. Nobody is decrying the single payer system as the rest of the world uses successfully. suck, suck, suck, republikans and demokrats fighting each other in both houses to see who can suck off the HMO’s the hardest.

  • Buttacavoli

    What a shame. The conservatives in both legislative and judicial houses are out to bleed the average American citizens.

  • why are you suprised? do you think that every crook in ” service” in the world is a lawyer for nothing? this is all part of the plan to castrate the constition and force all non filthy rich folks into company store slavery. if we as a nation do nothing about the theft of our government by the right wing nazis we deserve what we get. this country was built on genocide and slavery, you really think anything has changed for people outside the ruling class? sence nixon they have been steadly getting worse. wake up sheep your already naked, next is cooked.

  • ottokristen

    One of these days the supreme court will decide about Obama’s health care,The question is if it’s constitutional or not to make people,under a penalty, to become a part of the all national health care. What is the difference between forcing people to have a car insurance, or to pitch in with health insurance. You can argue that if you don’t want to drive ,you don’t need car insurance. Than you have to ask how many people don’t want to drive and how many people don’t want to have any health insurance and want to just die without any help.
    I can not believe what some of the supreme judges are actually saying. Sometime it seems to me they sound like sophomore students of law and not persons with life experiences and wisdom. Or did they live a pampered lifes of isolation from everyday struggle of common people as I? Probably so.
    If they try to reject Obama’s health care, which is already taken for granted by most of the nation, it could be compared to showing to a dog a bone with a lot of meat on it, as a tease and than to take it away and hide it.
    Did you ever try to take a dog bone from a dog which is not yours? Don’t! You may lose your fingers.
    But I don’t thing we have to worry too much about the whole matter.There is an ancient law called AIA, (year 1793) Anti-Injunction Act which has to do with the government tax law.To narrow it down, you have to pay your taxes before you can claim it unjust and sue the government to get your money back.The health care law doesn’t kick in till 2014,you did not pay anything yet,so you have no ground for suing the government. Tough luck.By the way why don’t we send messages to Supreme Court?All of us!
    How about that?

  • tomtrilobite

    Well, I count myself a liberal. But I think you’re too hard on the conservative members of the court. They’re obviously entitled to ask any question they wish if they feel it will give them some insight into what the court should do.

    • hybrid80

      What I think you need a recount.

      • tomtrilobite

        Maybe, and as I grow older I do recognize a certain psychological drift towards the right. But I think it is a mistake to impugn the motives of the more conservative justices of the Supreme Court. The whole point of appointing them for life, keeping their salary the same even after retirement, and making it impossible to remove them by any means other than impeachment, is to help insure that they will not be overly affected by the political winds of the day. The only justice who is whole-heartedly ideological is Clarence Thomas, and frankly I wish he wasn’t on the Court. But the others — Scalia included — write incisive, cogent, and most of all defensible opinions. I’m grateful they do not always prevail with some of their more crabbed views, but Inevertheless respect them for the fine jurists they are. Justice Kennedy, in particular, seems despite his sometimes “conservative” approach, to have a real conscience and to make the right decision regardless of political considerations. Otherwise, for example, he could never have authored the majority opinion in a case like Lawrence v. Texas.

  • telall

    I see the GIMMIE!!!!! GIMMIE !!! FLOCK IS AT WORK ON THIS SITE!!!!!!

  • ottokristen

    My post is being reviewed by a moderator,I wonder why,or is here a censorship on this site? Otto Kristen

  • People this is wrong, our forefathers never intended for our judicial branch to cross over and make decisions that are related to our legislative branch. You must remember, no matter what they say, these judge have walk into this issue with ready made opinions about this issue.

  • ottokristen

    How long does it take to be approved by a moderator?

  • Wow, ride on! How after all these hundreds of years that we have this government can the branches of government get so screwed up? Many people call it Obamacare! Obama as President can only suggest and urge Congress to act, he has NO vote into whether this law passes on as the law of the land or not! His job is implement the LAW, read the Constitution. The justices of the Supreme Court cannot MAKE the law either, they can only interpret the law!

  • We shall have to see what the final result is. I too was struck by what I consider the improper extensions of judicial concerns. The conservative judges strayed into legislative territory many times. Areas they have no right to address in their consideration of the health care bill. They need to strictly restrict their deliberations to aspects of the health care bill that may be unconsitutional. That is, the universal mandate. The question whether or not the rest of the bill can survive without that mandate is beyond their power to decide. It is a LEGISLATIVE matter. I wish someone would point out this simple fact!!!!!

  • We shall have to see what the final result is. I too was struck by what I consider the improper extensions of judicial concerns. The conservative judges strayed into legislative territory many times. Areas they have no right to address in their consideration of the health care bill. They need to strictly restrict their deliberations to aspects of the health care bill that may be unconsitutional. That is, the universal mandate. The question whether or not the rest of the bill can survive without that mandate is beyond their power to decide. It is a LEGISLATIVE matter. I wish someone would point out this simple fact!!!!!

    Edit Reply

  • megaladon

    The bottom line is whether or not it is constitutional to force people to purchase health insurance. The mandate would require everyone to purchase health insurance, or face fines and penalties from the IRS if they don’t. Analogies to other commodities were merely used to illustrate a point. Regardless of the spirit of the law and its purported good intentions, it must pass constitutional muster like any other law. It’s the job of the SCOTUS to determine that. Because the severabity clause was omitted, it then fell to the court to decide if the rest of the bill should stand if the mandate were struck down. Scalia said it was NOT the courts job to comb through the bill and anazyze each provision on its own merit. It is Congress’s job to do that. Therefor if the mandate is struck down, the court has no choice but to invalidate the entire law as it would be an over reach of power for the court to decide which components to keep. The fools who copied and pasted this train wreck of a bill together should have taken the time to make sure it would pass constitutional muster before they passed it.

    • hybrid80

      Why not elect a court of German or English jurists with no US political alliances to form a Supreme Court? Give them temporary citizenship, a library card, a copy of the constitution and some peace and quiet.

  • ricab

    When will the Supreme Court be impeached? It is time we amend the constitution where the President will not have to nominate anyone because we will vote for them. They are hurting our nation, first with stealing the Gore election, then with giving the same rights that you and I have to corporations and now getting involved with health care? enough is enough, let’s impeach them.

  • megaladon

    The SCOTUS sees ” no need to defer to those elected to make our laws”. DUH… The judicial branch “defers” to no other branch. Each branch of government is separate and autonomous for a very specific reason. It’s called “balance of power”.

    “A Supreme Court that is supposed to give us justice will instead deliver ideology.” An impartial, and unbiased SCOTUS interprets laws. They do not promulgate the author’s personal brand of ideology that he calls justice. The court is not a crusader for the downtrodden or defender of the disadvantaged. It is designed to be impartial and it’s purpose is to interpret laws.

    • hybrid80

      Why do you think the constitution was written in the first place if it wasn’t for the protection of the downtrodden ? ? ? ? need I go on?

  • greypanther

    The Supreme Court Justices should be completely independent from any political organizations. The way they are chosen now is by the political party in power. The loosers are we… the people.

  • This Supreme Court can approve this health care bill the same way they put G.W. Bush in office. One time only ruling and not ever rule this again. That ruling in the year 2000 told me not to respect their opinions ever again. I thought they were SUPREME, no, just men and women who act on what they believe.

    • firstguesser

      YES indeed you are correct. To make a ruling aka Bush vs Gore & say up front that the ruling can never be used as precedent is the equivalent to asserting that this is an illegitimate ruling in the first place. Following the logic Bush was an illegitimate occupier of the presidency. The only thing you can count on this court doing is that above all any ruling must fit within the framework of their political beliefs.

  • What amuses me is the Republicans talking so much about getting stuff out of the government hands, cut the Government payroll, etc. Guess who pays their salary.? Lets cut the government payroll and send the congress home and get some new ones in 2012 that have been out here with us and know what we need to run this country smoothly.

  • MIT Motor (Mighty yet Tiny) is the wave of the future if we can get it past the oil guards.

  • firstguesser

    This court already has the blood of tens of thousands on its hands by its totally unconstitutional appointment of GW Bush as president. Had Al Gore been allowed the victory he had earned I doubt 9/11 would have occurred at all. It has always been my belief that Bin Laden knew our politics all too well. He recognized he would be dealing with a mental weakling should Bush ascend to the presidency. Bin Laden & other radical Muslims also knew the greed that was going to dictate every decision of an administration dominated by oil men. His intent was to attack, not for the purpose of a military victory, but rather as a means thru which he would get the USA to destroy itself from the inside. True to form the administration rushed into an inadvisable war while it quelled descent at home thru illegal wire taps, patriot acts etc. In their panic & greed the US sure as shooting ran their finances into the grounding engaging in needless,poorly thought out wars.. Had Gore & a democratic administration been in charge, even if there was a 9/11 at all (Idoubt it) the Gore administration would have been less predictable & far more judicious in its response.

    Ignoring, for now ,the ludicrous ruling in Citizens United in which the most wealthy of us are allowed to control elections. At least no lives were lost in that SC decision. Only our form of democracy has been trashed by the Citizens United decision. Should these political hacks aka Supreme Court justices trash the Affordable Care Act millions of people will lose the insurance coverage they were being provided under this act. Given the severity of each of their illnesses many of our fellow citizens are being given a death sentence. Saddest of all so many mothers will lose children, husbands & wives will lose long time mates etc. The coverage for preventable health care measures will not exist & a result when the illness advances,the more radical/expensive treatments will be utilized. Who will fund these measures taken to save the lives of the uninsured ? John Q Citizen aka you & I.

    Progressives are naively claiming that the silver lining in the wake of the destruction of the Affordable Care Act will be the hastening of a single payer government run plan. Medicare with eligibility beginning at birth comes immediately to mind. The problem is the Republican party, thru massive voter suppression, is already in the midst of stealing the upcoming 2012 elections. They haven’t even gotten to the rigged voting machines, owned exclusively by republicans, & the tens of thousands votes that will be stolen. In any case if the Democrats cannot get fair counts in the upcoming elections they won’t be able to keep the presidency nor attain veto prof majorities in either House. Should that be the case it will be a cold day in hell before the health care system is reformed in any really effective manner.

    • RobVT1

      You do have some valid points and concerns, but overall you need to come out for some fresh air with the rest of us, or at least those of us at ground level.

  • theboogieman007

    Dear President Obama,
    Please tell your supporters what to do here about this. We all knew the moment Supreme Court was brought into this it could be all over because of etc etc.
    I CAN’T AFFORD TO GO TO WASHINGTON BUT I ASSURE YOU, I AND 10’S OF MILLIONS WOULD SHOW UP AT YOUR FRONT DOOR IF ONLY YOU ASK US TO. MORE OF US ARE DYING THAN ALL THE OPEN PARKING LOTS IN WASHINGTON CAN HOLD OF REPUBLICAN HATREDS.( (((DIRECT YOUR AMERICAN SUPPORTERS))))
    PLEASE FOR GODS SAKE PEOPLE (SOMEONE ARRANGE GATHERING SO BIG SO LARGE
    THAT AT THE LEAST THE CURRENT JUDGES WILL KNOW THEIR DAYS AT THE REPUBLICAN HELM ARE NUMBERED), I KNOW I WOULD NEVER ABANDON OUR PRESIDENT BECAUSE OF SOMETHING SATIN AND HIS ANGELS & JUDGES ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR. ALL OF US WILL BE THERE ON ELECTION DAY I PROMISE. THE SAME THAT PUT YOU THERE, INCLUDING THIS 58 YR. OLD 100% WHITE AMERICAN MAN.
    YOU WILL BE RE-ELECTED EITHER WAY! GIVE US PLEASE AN ASSIGNMENT AND I AND OTHER WHO LOVE CHRIST JESUS WILL COME AND GIVE THE GOP HELLS FIRE.

  • I totally agree with E.J. Dionne comments. We Americans are in trouble when our Supreme Court is no longer acting as an independent Supreme court deciding legal issues but rather is projecting ideology. It reminds me of the court system, including the Highest Court in some third world countries that rubber stamp the wishes of the government/regimes of those countries.. I know that many of us criticize this practice in those third world countries, and criticize we should, but our Supreme Court right here in the United States has done just that when it voted to give us Bush v Gore and the Citizens United decisions and is poised to do so again (if it decides to overturn the healthcare reform Act) .
    I both understand and appreciate that the Justices each has his or her own personal conservative ideological beliefs, but specifically Justices Scalia, Alito, Thomas and Chief Justice Roberts in particular and Justices Breyer and Kennedy in general seem to decide for conservative ideology rather than issues of law and the constitutionality of the law in question. Well, all I can say is God help us all.

  • RobVT1

    Folks, it’s politics. Conservatives do it; liberals do it. Welcome to the world, not just America. Regardless of their charge, every justice on that court is a political appointee, and the sole intent of every presdient who appointed them to to get an ideological vote on his side of the aisle. At least if we had term limits for these justices, it wouldn’t take a generation or more to keep the balance going back and forth. Given the fifth, tie-breaking vote, the liberal justices would legislate ad nauseam, Mr. Dionne’s column would be cheering them on, and all these comments here would be coming from conservatives wailing at their lack of restraint. Let’s stop this Casablanca-style hand wringing: “I’m shocked – shocked – that politics is going on in here!” Or better still, the Who might have said it best: “Meet the new boss; same as the old boss.” Don’t like it? Find leaders who will change it and vote for them. That brings the politics full circle.

  • keefert55

    While I watch and listen to these proceedings it amazes me to believe how insensitive we have become. Learned scholars from around the world caution us that we are embarking down a slippery slope if we don’t act as the” Good Book” suggests “Be Our Brothers Keeper.” The right seems to forget during the rest of the week what they were so proud to extol in church on Sunday where they could see and be seen. Don’t they realise there will be consequences for their actions according to George Soros and Warren Buffet. As I said to a friend the other day, “if you think Greece has a problem, just wait until the disenfranchised American public sees what has been visited upon them” It is and is becoming more and more so, a society of the” haves” and the” have nots” such as many of our South American neighbors have lived with for years. We don’t ask for your precious money just for the sake of asking. Lord knows you need that four car garage with an elevator. But we ask that those who are less fortunate have the basic needs of a civilized society. Remember this well “fatcats.: No one is too big to fail. And when you descend to where you have sent others, they will be as merciful to you as you were to them.

  • Wow did all pro obamacare activists gather in this column? What the heck. Okay I agree with lexi001 comment of this country is no longer a democracy. When most recent polls show that 54% of the country opposes obamacare and only 40% support and this thing is still in existence yep democracy has fallen. The people’s voice no longer counts for anything. This thing is being shoved down the people’s throat by “The money that has bought even our justices” Personally I don’t care if they would like to make a government option that allows people to have affordable healthcare. Just don’t make a law that requires I have healthcare or I get fined! That’s like fining someone for smoking! Is it bad for you if you do it yes! Is America supposed to be built on an ideal of freedom!? (That should be a duh for all of you out there) Definition of Freedom according to Webster’s dictionary: the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint IN CHOICE OR ACTION. What happened to choice in the matter? Have healthcare or get fined? The only reason we are supposed to have laws at all is to prevent others from infringing on the freedom of others. Well how does making someone purchase healthcare prevent someone from infringing on others freedoms? (If you have an answer to that trust me you can use it to justify much more drastic restrictions to freedom than just healthcare.) I am disgusted to lexi001. I voted for president Obama and now I am furious that I ever thought that was a good idea. Freedom has been trampled and the majority of America knows it and is furious. I once identified myself as a Democrat. But when the supposed leader of that party is going to trample the American belief of being able to choose what you want for yourself I just can’t go along with it!

    • hybrid80

      Why do I find it very hard to believe you to once be a Democrat. What was it that attracted you to it? Was it their desire to improve the lot of the common man?, or was it their resistance to the running of the country by the lobbyists? Perhaps it was their effort to reduce health costs etc, before you got disgusted and furious and “stopped going along with it” Enlighten us if you will.

  • hybrid80

    Tom—– Sorry but didn’t “overly affected” Republican members of the SC throw a party to celebrate GW’ being re-elected by their intersession into politics with a “more crabbed view? ”
    Now the Health Care is going to hit the dirt, because you can’t save people’s lives and ram antidotes down their throats, without denying their freedom to choose. What is the fine majority jurists motive in this case? — We think you should just cure yourself or die on your own if you can’t afford any of the free market’s health plan choices!—– Is this the ultimate right of a free citizen?

    The generalities of the Constitution makes it a feeding ground for clever “motivated” jurists to quote either the intent or the letter of the law depending on what suits their purpose

    Tom—- if the SC jurists were chosen by people like yourself, I could share your respect for the conservative members too.