Now, that I can discuss Chief Justice John Roberts’ recent publication without the punctuation of salty expletives, I thought that I would share a few initial thoughts.
I’m not surprised that the individual mandate was ruled to be a tax as I recall that description of it going back before ObamaCare’s passage; however, I am shocked that it was viewed to be constitutional as a tax. Frankly, Roberts’ ill formed opinion has declared deuces wild with the Congress’ tax power.
I made a list of legislative obscenities that the ruling would permit under the doctrine of misnaming them a tax. After posting several to Facebook as a test, I found the following to get the most reaction, so I will repeat it:
“I observe that the House Republican reaction to the ObamaCare decision could be to impose a federal financial penalty on all single parents and call it a tax, while hailing federally mandated marriage as a cure to social ills. Justice Roberts and the four court libs would uphold this abuse of the tax power.”
This is not an arbitrary assertion as it is founded in Republican talking points about promoting two parent families as a cure to all sorts of social dysfunctions that increase social welfare costs for the government. Previously, Congress would authorize tax benefits for those that both paid taxes and lived congressionally approved lifestyles; now, Justice Roberts has rubberstamped the Congress punishing, without due process of law and other essential constitutional right guarantees, those who make life choices different than the preferences of the Congress-of-the-moment without regard to constitutional limits upon congressional powers.
Imagine what could be considered necessary and proper for the collection of this federally mandated marriage tax. For example, all single males could be required to provide DNA to the government to prove that they do not owe a tax for having unknowingly co-created the fatherless child of an unmarried mother.
While I could go on and on about specific legislative abominations violating individual rights through Chief Justice Roberts’ expansive view of the tax power, I don’t want to give the vile Republicans too many ideas; so, let me focus on key understandings that should limit Congress’ tax power.
Before the ruling, I had drafted some thoughts on voluntary government financing versus problems under the current federal tax system. The purpose of a tax is to raise revenue to pay for legitimate government expenses. In that context, Congress has already been abusing its tax power to, amongst other issues: (1) punish successful Americans for the crime of being financial successful, while depriving them of the constitutional rights of the accused, and (2) expanding the domain of the federal government beyond its specific constitutional limits as if the tax power gave the federal government general police powers to nudge individual behavior.
This opinion by Roberts’ affirmed those abuses, while explicitly endorsing without court scrutiny, an expanded use of punitive taxes to nudge Americans into compliance with majority opinion; for example: would a congressional afterlife insurance mandate upon atheists be subject to strict scrutiny or not according to Roberts, who apparently failed to think his opinion through? Roberts’ opinion is a total assault upon individual rights and President Thomas Jefferson’s view that the federal courts should protect individuals from government trampling upon their individual rights.
For those currently reflexively lambasting Chief Justice Roberts’ opinion, they should consider the consequences if he had ruled correctly on the limits upon Congress’ tax power. There are many popular tax deductions and credits that would be correctly ruled unconstitutional as a dangerous expansion of the congressional policy domain. While I think that Chief Justice Roberts should have had the integrity to rule in favor of limited congressional authority, Roberts is probably aware that he is too much of an unprincipled coward to have done so. Ask yourself, do you have the integrity to impose limits upon transient majority opinion using tax policy to violate individual rights with a nudge?
Extra Point: Fictional future Congressman Eric Cartman has declared that “soulless Gingers should be penalized with a punitive federal tax,” if they fail to dye their red hair into compliance with the judgment of others. Chief Justice Roberts and the four liberal justices of the Supreme Court agree that this tax would be constitutional.