Obamacare is a disaster that will add layers of additional costs on the already-too-government-involved healthcare industry, further increase the national debt, reinforce a mentality of dependency and helplessness in the American people, and make future elections a referendum on whether rich people will subsidize lifestyle procedures like lap band surgery, LASIK, and the like. It is also unconstitutional, though no more so than agriculture subsidies, minimum wage laws, and much else.
I confess, I was a little surprised Roberts cast the losing vote, and did so on the basis of the tax power, which is a potentially open-ended and easily abused power when not in the service of some otherwise permissible federal activity. This is evident in its being used to set up comprehensive regulatory schemes such as the National Firearms Act or the Narcotic Drug Act. I was never enamored of Roberts, though on the whole he has leaned conservative. But he lacks the passion and clear thinking of a Scalia or Thomas. Indeed, when he was confirmed, I was a little skeptical and expressed it as follows:
Roberts is the technocrat par excellence, a lawyer’s lawyer, who can advocate for anything and anybody. He has risen to great heights by being bright and checking off all of the appropriate boxes, e.g., Harvard, the right clerkships, stints in the Republican administartions. But who is he? What is his philosophy? Is he nothing more than a chamelon, propelled by laser-like ambition. I do not begrudge the Democrats for asking what he thinks about different judicial principles, and I think the post-Bork refusal of nominees to defend the conservative judicial philosophy forthrightly is a shame. Roberts’ inscruitable answers exemplify this trend of “hide the ball.” What is there to be ashamed of? Conservatives are crudely portrayed to be “results oriented” in elections and in the media. In the controlled atmosphere of a confirmation hearing, are we worried that our true selves explained in detail will not be accepted by the American people and its elected delegates? The conservative judicial philosophy, properly explained, likely would have many adherents especially in the middle, as it is ultimately a philosophy of judicial restraint. Restraint for judges means power for the political branches of government and empowerment of the people. It means a deliberate refusal by the Court to involve itself in many matters. Stating this restrained philosophy means infuriating liberals, most of whom have little regard for institutional division as an important consideration under their “realist” philosophy. It means a Justice must give up individual power. It seems strange that unless one were somehow corrupted by the prevailing liberal ethos, that one would not have earlier expressed this philosophy to the rage of liberals simply by dint of honesty.
While conservatives watch Roberts the technocrat do circles around the dullards on the Senate Judiciary Committee, they should be concerned that they do not know how Roberts will rule when he’s faced with the Machiavellian moments that come before the Court. Only then, with this farcical process having failed to accomplish anything of substance, will we know who Robert is. To our delight or regret, we cannot now say.
Looks like the answer to my question is “regret.”