The reaction to the Supreme Courts ruling on ObamaCare has been fast and (in many cases) furious.
Traitor! Turncoat! Benedict Arnold!
Those contemptuous epithets and more were hurled by Republicans and conservatives at Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. moments after he single-handedly saved Obamacare, joining liberals on the bench to break a 4-4 tie.
The Supreme Court has abandoned us,” Texas Gov. Rick Perry declared. “Simply disappointing,” Florida Gov. Rick Scott moaned. “Activist court,” Rep. Michele Bachmann cried.
Even Ari Fleischer, the former spokesman for George W. Bush, who appointed Chief Justice Roberts to the court, joined in. “I miss Justice Harriet Miers,” he whined.
But some cooler heads are seeing the big picture that Chief Justice Roberts painted, by siding with the majority.
But they all miss the point, and, more, by looking purely at the political, miss the forest for the trees.
In voting to uphold Mr. Obama’s disastrous health-care overhaul, the chief justice took away the president’s main line of attack that surely would have been deployed had the court voted 5-4, along party lines. The Divider in Chief, already bent on stoking cultural warfare — upper-middle class vs. lower-middle class, white against black against Hispanic, gay against straight, believers against non-believers — had no doubt hoped to win one more target for his bilious bifurcation.
Were the five justices appointed by Republican president to have stuck together in opposition, Mr. Obama would have toured the country (at taxpayer expense) to decry the court’s action as nothing more than an act political usurpation — how dare those five men take away the will of the people?!
But Justice Roberts did just the opposite (and, bonus, also strictly adhere to the original intent of the Constitution). Obamacare is unconstitutional if it were to be enacted via the Commerce Clause, but not if it’s simply a tax, the justice wrote. “Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness.”
Emphasis mine. The bonus point is one that the armchair "Constitutional Scholars" all seem to miss. Even Utah's Junior Senator pointed out the Constitutionality of the decision.
Today’s decision may ultimately be regarded less as a victory for the Affordable Care Act and instead as an important recognition and validation of the freedoms protected by our constitutional structure. The Court’s decision today upheld the individual mandate as a tax, but it also validated fundamental principles of limited government and federalism.
A majority of the justices rightfully concluded that Congress had exceeded its regulatory authority under the Commerce Clause by attempting to impose the individual mandate as a government directive. As Chief Justice Roberts’s opinion explained, “The power to regulate commerce presupposes the existence of commercial activity to be regulated. . . . Construing the Commerce Clause to permit Congress to regulate individuals precisely because they are doing nothing would open a new and potentially vast domain to congressional authority. . . . That is not the country the Framers of our Constitution envisioned.”
In so holding, the majority opinion expressly embraced the limiting implications of the distinction between activity and inactivity, put forward by critics of the ACA. The Court noted that, although its Commerce Clause jurisprudence throughout much of the last century had been notoriously expansive, even at its most expansive (such as in cases like Wickard v. Filburn), it had always limited Congress to regulating preexisting activity. The ACA, by contrast, tried to regulate inactivity. The Court refused to countenance such limitless congressional power.
While this is a bitter pill for many conservative activists now, in the long run it could play out very well for them. Mitt Romney's campaign reaped a very large benefit on Friday.
Mitt Romney's presidential campaign has raised $5.5 million since the Supreme Court ruled that President Obama's healthcare law is constitutional.
Romney started raising funds immediately after the decision, and in a message to supporters Friday morning his campaign spokeswoman said he had raised $5.5 million from 55,000 donations.
Erick Erickson states it this way.
John Roberts, the man who gave us the Citizens United case has now, with a laughably inane ruling, told us we have to fight politically. The millions of people who joined the tea party in 2009 only to go back to their jobs and families after the 2010 election are now awake.
In waking, what they are seeing is a government claiming that food stamps will make you look amazing and that encourages people to party with food stamps. They are seeing a corrupt tourism program. They are seeing tax cheats getting billions from Barack Obama. They are seeing high unemployment, the United States Attorney General held in contempt of congress, the GOP cave on fiscal issues, and the Supreme Court deciding something the vast majority of Americans hate is constitutional.
And they are seeing that, just like in 2010, they are the only ones who can stop Barack Obama and the Democrats. The GOP is nothing without the tea party. Tea Party activists are awake again. And thanks to John Roberts they are mad as hell.
And that, in the long run, could not only hand the White House to Mitt Romney, it could hand the Senate over to the GOP. There are at least 8 Senate Democrats seats (Nelson of Florida and Nebraska, Tester of Montana, McCaskill of Missouri, Bingaman of New Mexico, Kohl of Wisconsin, Conrad of North Dakota and Brown of Ohio) that are within easy reach for the GOP. In some cases (Missouri and Wisconsin) the GOP challenger has a commanding lead on the Democrat.
The Democrats are facing a very steep hill and Thursday's ruling made that sloop slipperier than it was before. November 6 could be a very, very long night for the Democrats.