As we had written prior to the Obamacare ruling, America will be at a Watershed Moment in its history. A fundamental change in how government and its citizens will interact can occur by the vote of the nine Supreme Court justices. In a twisted series of logic and a shocking surprise vote, the Supreme Court upheld the law but if one reads the opinions, there was no majority opinion on the exact reason why. The vote really turned 4-1-4; the decision was a one man majority rule: Chief Justice Roberts.
As a preliminary matter, the court could not hear the matter if the law was a tax. So Roberts ruled it was not a tax for jurisdictional purposes. He then ruled that the Commerce Clause could not be used by Congress to force people into commerce by buying mandated health insurance policies. But then he reversed his previous decision and called the law a a tax, and not a penalty under the Commerce Clause so as to uphold the vast law in toto. The undercurrent watershed moment in the Roberts opinion was his politicalization of the Court by trying, crafting, discarding common sense to appear to be non-partisan to come down to a nonsensical nuclear bomb that in essence Congress can do anything it wants if it calls it a tax.
The Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare) deals with issues that should have never gotten past the District Court. The concept of insurance, health, life, accident - - - is purely a state chartered business. There is no federal question involved in this matter. There is no interstate commerce in insurance policies because they are issued on a state by state basis. Every insurance policy is regulated on a state by state basis. That is how it has been since the beginning of the nation.
But Congress decided it wanted to solve an alleged crisis in the cost of health care. However, the actual bill does nothing to affect what hospitals, clinics and doctors charge patients. It merely mandates that every business and individual needs to have their own health insurance policies or pay a penalty. The mandate that the federal government can force you to buy an insurance policy (or anything) is clearly unconstitutional. But when you are dealing with litigation, appellate opinions and blurred lines between what the founders believed were rights reserved solely to the states or to the people, it is no guarantee that the Supreme Court will get any matter totally right.
It is clear that none of the Supreme Court justices actually read all the elements of the huge health care bill. The massive amount of regulatory mechanics, forced state choices and 22 surcharges in order to subsidize the covert nationalization of the health insurance industry was never addressed by any opinion. Each side did a simple one sentence throwaway line that the rest of the law, except the mandate and the state coercion of a new Medicaid program, were unlawful. Also not addressed but somehow assumed without citation is the overbearing power of Congress to stomp on purely state chartered and regulated insurance. For if the justices truly believed that Congress could regulate all insurance at any time, then why wrap it all up in a Trojan horse bill tied to federal spending measures to be adopted by each state in order to receive conditional federal funds? Because if any justice said Congress had such an absolute right, the court would have had to rule that all insurance regulated under historic state laws were overruled and preempted by the Commerce Clause. By not addressing these fundamental states rights and individual citizen liberties, the whole ruling is suspect and hard to understand its application on future cases.
From the shocking enpowerment of Congress in the Obamacare case, the next possible nuclear fall out ruling could be to expand the federal courts powers to blow up purely state laws for political purposes. The second government-citizen case that is headed to the Supreme Court is even more fundamental. It deals with the people's absolute right to determine their own fate against government actions and policies. In California, the legislature passed a gay marriage bill. It was a fundamental change in the state's existing marriage law. Again, marriage laws are strictly state matters. There is no federal question. But the courts have imposed stretched logic to determine that equal protection requires special interest groups the same statutory entitlements. This is the same court system which obliterated the concept in an Indiana case where taxpayers sued for sewer refunds on lump sum payments for sewer connections from their city who later waived installment payments from other taxpayers. The court ruled that the taxpayers who in essence paid greatly more for the same service were not entitled to a refund to equalize the amount other taxpayers would have to pay.
California voters took the gay marriage law to a referendum. Under the California constitution, voters have the final say. The voters overwhelming voted to repeal the gay marriage law. That should have ended the matter, but proponents filed a federal suit. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the voters will and proclaimed the referendum null and void. And here lies the fundamental constitutional question: if citizens cannot vote to determine their own state law against unwanted government action, then what rights to citizens have left for regress? Now the fate of the citizen's rights to create their own state laws will rest again in the hands of one man: Justice Roberts. And based upon his Obamacare ruling, nothing is certain when regard to his new interpretations of the Constitution.
Citizens are acutely aware that they are not being treated fairly by the government leaders. The USA may soon mean Unilateral State of America. For if the federal government can unilaterally nationalize the health insurance industry under the unwarranted excuse of interstate commerce, then it can nationalize anything: professional licenses, doctors, teachers, construction workers, cooks or bottle washers. And if a state's citizen's vote can be tossed aside as meaningless by the courts, then America is no longer a democracy but a crony bureaucracy of political special interests.