|Official 2005 photo of Chief Justice John G. Roberts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
(This post is also published at my Connecticut Living blog at wordpress.com)
The conservative talkers are still buzzing over theories as to why Roberts came down the way he did on the Affordable Care Act. Some assert that he caved to pressure from the Obama administration and popular media, feeling threatened by an overwhelming flood of support. Others say he acted in a way that he knew would deliberately energize the conservative base this election season (truly, Romney did raise a lot of money right after the ruling came out). Personally, I have my own idea as to why he ruled as he did on the subject of the legislation's constitutionality.
In my opinion, it's a stretch to call the mandate is a "tax," especially when the proponents of the bill repeatedly emphasized that it is not. I suspect that most people would agree with that. So, why did he come up with that one? I think he was looking for any way he could find to not have to scrap the law, because he knows it is not the court's job to play politics and strike down laws -and he did not want the court to be conceived as a partisan body ruling only on majority ideology and not with the constitution as the main basis of its decision-making.
Roberts indicated when rendering his decision that it is not the court's duty to save us from the consequences of our political decisions. We knew full-well in 2008 what we were getting when we elected our current president to office. He did not hide his healthcare agenda.
So, while I don't agree with the notion of the mandate being a 'tax,' I get the reasoning behind his very thin excuse for letting the law stand.
Many people know my stand on health care and this legislation. While I see much good intent with this act, I also see much opportunity for government overreach in the form of intrusion into our personal lives and decision-making ability. Perhaps a common sense libertarian-style approach is in order.
So I believe Roberts went the way he did because he knows it's our job to rid ourselves of this unpopular legislation if we so choose. We do this not by engaging men and women who sit on high banging gavels and wearing long black robes -- we do it with a ballot box.