In a 5 to 4 decision, Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority, upheld the individual mandate as a tax increase — something Barack Obama said the individual mandate was not.
Along the way, the Supreme Court did two things. First, it restricted Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause, though showing just how expansive the tax clause in Article I, Section 8 is.
Second, the Supreme Court struck down Congress’s ability to penalize states for refusing to go along with the medicaid expansion, thereby showing the Court still believes in federalism.
I’m disappointed by the decision, but not terribly surprised given I had no idea which way it’d go. I do take away a few things.
First, John Roberts’ opinion seems to clearly suggest he wants to keep the Supreme Court out of political fights and was willing to destroy his reputation with conservatives to do it.
Second, this forces everyone to deal with the issue politically. The President and Democrats did, according to the Court, impose a tax increase. Because it is a taxation issue, the GOP now, should it take back the Senate, have even more grounds to deal with the matter under reconciliation, bypassing the 60 vote filibuster threshold.
It’s a big win for the President and a bad day for freedom. But we can deal with it. It is not the end of the world, the republic, or freedom. It just means we have to fight harder.
In the meantime, following Obama’s lead on illegal aliens, I think Mitt Romney should declare that if he is President he’ll seek “prosecutorial discretion” to not go after people who don’t pay their individual mandate tax.