Last Updated:October 1 @ 07:14 am

Sowell: Judicial Betrayal

By Thomas Sowell

Betrayal is hard to take, whether in our personal lives or in the political life of the nation. Yet there are people in Washington -- too often, Republicans -- who start living in the Beltway atmosphere, and start forgetting those hundreds of millions of Americans beyond the Beltway who trusted them to do right by them, to use their wisdom instead of their cleverness.

President Bush 41 epitomized these betrayals when he broke his "read my lips, no new taxes" pledge. He paid the price when he quickly went from high approval ratings as president to someone defeated for reelection by a little known governor from Arkansas.

Chief Justice John Roberts need fear no such fate because he has lifetime tenure on the Supreme Court. But conscience can be a more implacable and inescapable punisher -- and should be.

The Chief Justice probably made as good a case as could be made for upholding the constitutionality of ObamaCare by defining one of its key features as a "tax."

The legislation didn't call it a tax and Chief Justice Roberts admitted that this might not be the most "natural" reading of the law. But he fell back on the long-standing principle of judicial interpretation that the courts should not declare a law unconstitutional if it can be reasonably read in a way that would make it constitutional, out of "deference" to the legislative branch of government.

But this question, like so many questions in life, is a matter of degree. How far do you bend over backwards to avoid the obvious, that ObamaCare was an unprecedented extension of federal power over the lives of 300 million Americans today and of generations yet unborn?

These are the people that Chief Justice Roberts betrayed when he declared constitutional something that is nowhere authorized in the Constitution of the United States.

John Roberts is no doubt a brainy man, and that seems to carry a lot of weight among the intelligentsia -- despite glaring lessons from history, showing very brainy men creating everything from absurdities to catastrophes. Few of the great tragedies of history were created by the village idiot, and many by the village genius.

One of the Chief Justice's admirers said that when others are playing checkers, he is playing chess. How much consolation that will be as a footnote to the story of the decline of individual freedom in America, and the wrecking of the best medical care in the world, is another story.

There are many speculations as to why Chief Justice Roberts did what he did, some attributing noble and far-sighted reasons, and others attributing petty and short-sighted reasons, including personal vanity. But all of that is ultimately irrelevant.

What he did was betray his oath to be faithful to the Constitution of the United States.

Who he betrayed were the hundreds of millions of Americans -- past, present and future -- whole generations in the past who have fought and died for a freedom that he has put in jeopardy, in a moment of intellectual inspiration and moral forgetfulness, 300 million Americans today whose lives are to be regimented by Washington bureaucrats, and generations yet unborn who may never know the individual freedoms that their ancestors took for granted.

Some claim that Chief Justice Roberts did what he did to save the Supreme Court as an institution from the wrath -- and retaliation -- of those in Congress who have been railing against Justices who invalidate the laws they have passed. Many in the media and in academia have joined the shrill chorus of those who claim that the Supreme Court does not show proper "deference" to the legislative branch of government.

But what does the Bill of Rights seek to protect the ordinary citizen from? The government! To defer to those who expand government power beyond its constitutional limits is to betray those whose freedom depends on the Bill of Rights.

Similar reasoning was used back in the 1970s to justify the Federal Reserve's inflationary policies. Otherwise, it was said, Congress would destroy the Fed's independence, as it can also change the courts' jurisdiction. But is it better for an institution to undermine its own independence, and freedom along with it, while forfeiting the trust of the people in the process?

---

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305. His website is www.tsowell.com.

COPYRIGHT 2012 CREATORS.COM

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84 Comments

  1. inluminatuoComment by inluminatuo
    July 3, 2012 @ 7:51 am

    “the long-standing principle of judicial interpretation that the courts should not declare a law unconstitutional if it can be reasonably read in a way that would make it constitutional, out of “deference” to the legislative branch of government.”

    How about showing deference to the will of the majority who elected these Congressmen, when they present an opportunity choice to uphold the will of the majority or tempt the Courts to grab THEIR 15 minutes of fame by exercising powers not intended for them to have? How about upholding the “Deference” to the legislative branches that struck down gay marriage and the created judicial rulings that prohibited disoriented women on valium to have the right to abort their children with no say so by the father? How about protecting the will of a majority people in Arizona who want to arrest and detain those who break into their homes and states illegally, How about showing deference about protecting the rights of an enlightened majority from the tyranny of the distorted will of manipulated cobbled together socialist collectives of minorities in leveraged socialist class warfare against the will of the majority? Just what do they put in the water in our nation’s Capital that twists the minds and rational capacity to think and avoid playing GOD with other people’s lives who more and more are forced to cede all their individual freedom of decision and responsibility to an all powerful government diety?

    This ruling of Roberts bodes less of being about our problems being in our stars, but more in ourselves and the individual Supreme Court Judges who seek fame for themselves over justice for those who entrusted them to protect their freedoms. Both of Roberts’ decisions on Immigration and Obamacare may on the surface appear to be attempts to define the Roberts court, but in reality looks more like an attempt by a jealous man to remove Kennedy from the spot light of swing judge king maker on to himself who had to flee to Malta when the heat of the light got too hot. Oh for the days when Judges upheld the will of the people instead of upholding the will of the disoriented minority view. The poweless have organized into collective street gangs and conquered the individually powerful, and we wonder why America declines.

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    • joelinpdxComment by joelinpdx
      July 3, 2012 @ 11:20 am

      Like it or not, the Supreme Court does not take the will of anyone into account in making its decisions. Not the will of Congress and not the will of the people. Will has nothing to do with anything at the court…it’s all about the Constitution.

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    • LAPhilComment by LAPhil
      July 3, 2012 @ 11:41 am

      joelinpdx:
      In theory of course you’re correct. However, we all know, especially now, that it doesn’t work out that way in reality.

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    • bulldogComment by bulldog
      July 3, 2012 @ 12:23 pm

      LAPhil is exactly right. The liberal judges “usually” follow what the Democrats want regardless. The conservative judges usually try harder to follow the constitution. Roberts bent the law too far this time. the Dems and the Pres told us many times this was not a tax, and this was being done under the “Commerce Clause”. As such this law should have been struck down. Even Roberts own written opinion said it should have been struck down under the commerce clause.

      Reality is that the constitution is not also strictly followed, and thus we have the term Judicial Activism.

      P.S. LaPhil I am also in so call, but about an hour or so drive east of L.A. in a more conservative area.

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    • LAPhilComment by LAPhil
      July 3, 2012 @ 12:27 pm

      Lucky you! I recently put a Romney bumper sticker on my car and I’m surprised no one’s vandalized it yet.

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    • CharieComment by Charie
      July 3, 2012 @ 12:33 pm

      The problem is that the SCOTUS, doesn’t seem to stick to the Constitution AND IT’S THEIR JOB. It is not their business to take the feelings or attitudes of people into their decisions, only to interpret laws to the best of their ability. It is Congress who is supposed to take the desires of their constituents into consideration.

      It makes me unhappy to see Republicans/Conservatives urging that the SCOTUS should listen to the will of the people. This is not a Democracy, it is a Constitutional Republic. Please don’t forget that!

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    • LAPhilComment by LAPhil
      July 3, 2012 @ 12:48 pm

      Charie:

      Don’t you think that’s what Roberts was doing? Taking into consideration the will of the people, the media, his legacy, whatever, rather than strictly interpreting the constitutionality of the law?

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    • CharieComment by Charie
      July 3, 2012 @ 1:24 pm

      Phil, that’s exactly what he did. He’s been infected with the liberal virus that has taken over this country, even Conservatives.

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    • Blu OwenComment by Blu Owen
      July 3, 2012 @ 1:49 pm

      Joelinpdx, consider this: Since the House of Representatives did not write a single word of the text of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act should it be asked of the Court if it is Constitutional under Art. I, §7, cl. 1, of the Constitution.

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    • vComment by v
      July 3, 2012 @ 5:24 pm

      Well to be blunt he didn’t take that into consideration either! American Citizens will be paying for this A** Betrayal for ever….it’s the ability of the Feds to now force you to do what they want to spy into every corner of your life without any cause!

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  2. AMVoterComment by AMVoter
    July 3, 2012 @ 9:56 am

    Roberts did not uphold his oath of office. He wiped his feet on the Constitution and betrayed this country. He is no better than the liar in the white house. May his conscience haunt him the rest of his miserable life.

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    • LAPhilComment by LAPhil
      July 3, 2012 @ 11:42 am

      I agree. This wasn’t even debatable it was so transparent. This was a total display of judical cowardice on Roberts’ part.

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  3. curlyComment by curly
    July 3, 2012 @ 10:03 am

    Any government, no matter how well intentioned at the beginning, eventually reaches the point where it no longer serves the people, but rather itself. We are there.

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  4. middlegroundComment by middleground
    July 3, 2012 @ 10:03 am

    I think Roberts is just as misguided as George Bush was to think you can compromise with fanatic liberals like those Clinton and Obama have appointed to the court and many government positions formerly restricted to those who had actually passed a professional or administrative test for their civil service job, and if he hasn’t figured this out he should resign if Romney wins. You can’t have one party playing by the “spoils system” and the other by “good of the nation” rules. It just doesn’t work.

    He had a chance to have a “John Marshall Moment” and he fumbled it. To me the bill was mislabeled, too long and included a mass of edicts unrelated to affordable healthcare. If it had been tossed out because of those three factors as well as eing unconstitutional Roberts would have established a real precedent. As it is he supported a monster that makes the Dred Scott ruling of 1857 look good by comparison.

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  5. nickster99Comment by nickster99
    July 3, 2012 @ 10:14 am

    Curly you are very correct. In fact this is the way it usually goes for a country’s progression: From Bondage to spiritual faith;
    From spiritual faith to great courage;
    From courage to liberty;
    From liberty to abundance;
    From abundance to complacency;
    From complacency to apathy;
    From apathy to dependence;
    From dependence back into bondage.”

    We are at the apathy to dependence stage and going down fast! We need to rid this country of the pestilence that is in control! obummer and his congressional minions! Or if we half to deal with him for 4 more years we will be in bondage for sure!

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  6. willyrhoComment by willyrho
    July 3, 2012 @ 10:15 am

    The Constitution Article I, Section 9, Clause 4; States No Capitation or other direct Tax shall be laid, [unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken]. Only the Income Tax is excluded by the 16th Amendment. The whole tax system of the USA income tax is based on Lies and Deception. All other USA taxes are placed under the “Shell” of the Income Tax when they have nothing to do with Income.

    The answer to all the Government Manipulation of its Citizens by taxation is to first Repeal the 17th Amendment. After that power is consolidated, eliminate the 16th Amendment, after that power is consolidated, eliminate the Civil War Relic, the 14th Amendment. From there into the future, the Federal Government is under Citizen/State control.

    Of course, this will never happen, because the Government will Print Fiat money to pay off the Government Class and Bribe their Friends and Muer Duer their Enemies. Just like the Chicago Mob does. Or the Mexican Drug Cartels, or the Moo Slim Oil barons. The above list is the list of the enemies of Liberty.

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    • Cape ConservativeComment by Cape Conservative
      July 3, 2012 @ 10:33 am

      It would be good if Romney would find a spot for Huckabee to work on getting his Fair Tax passed…that would put a HALT to the mushrooming IRS!

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  7. dnt361Comment by dnt361
    July 3, 2012 @ 10:16 am

    Justice Roberts is a very intelligent man and his vote and opinion on these issues hammered a nail in the coffin of Obama’s re-election chances taking with him the four liberal judges on the court. This will be expanded later as we get full bore into the election process. The Commerce Clause is still intact and the penalty is formally listed as a tax, because a mandate is unconstitutional. The $500 Billion that Obama tried to give back to Medicare and transfer to Medicaid and the states isn’t going to fly due to this decision. I think that we need to look further down the road, because the Democrats have been had.

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    • joelinpdxComment by joelinpdx
      July 3, 2012 @ 11:27 am

      You have it exactly right. It’s time to stop this nonsense of chastising Roberts and realize we have a rare gift in this decision. Obozocare would not have been an issue if it had been overturned. Now we have the issue to shove down the Democlowns throats just as we did in 2010.

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    • CharieComment by Charie
      July 3, 2012 @ 12:47 pm

      BUT, we’re still left with Obamacare which will do as much to sink our country as any invasion by an enemy army. You didn’t address that fact. Mitt Romney has said he will repeal that bill as soon as he gets in office but it needs a super majority to be repealed and Harry Reid is not going to be caught flat-footed on that. I’m sure he and the Democrat Caucus have been laying plans ever since the decision came down.

      Your whole premise requires that Romney be elected president, we have a majority in the House and a super majority in the Senate.

      I think you had better start praying now.

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    • LAPhilComment by LAPhil
      July 3, 2012 @ 12:51 pm

      Charie:

      It does NOT need a super majority to be repealed, that’s what lets us know there’s still hope. Any measure having to do with taxes or the budget only requires 51 votes, and now that the bill has been called a tax, that’s the way it’s going to play out. It’s kind of ironic how Roberts may have actually cut the throats of the Democrats with this decision.

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    • genesalComment by genesal
      July 3, 2012 @ 12:52 pm

      No 51 votes will do it.

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    • CharieComment by Charie
      July 3, 2012 @ 1:29 pm

      Then I have been misinformed. It’s probable that my source was thinking about the filibuster tactic which would, in all likelihood, be invoked.

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    • LAPhilComment by LAPhil
      July 3, 2012 @ 5:42 pm

      I just had a really scary thought. Is it possible that even if the Republicans take control the Senate after the election that Harry Reid could still refuse to take up the vote to repeal Obamacare? Please tell me he can’t!

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    • LAPhilComment by LAPhil
      July 3, 2012 @ 6:02 pm

      I just learned another little detail about how only 51 votes in the Senate will be needed to repeal Obamacare. There has to be a budget proposed first, so it may delay the process a little.

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    • inluminatuoComment by inluminatuo
      July 3, 2012 @ 7:14 pm

      Actually we only need 50 votes plus the Veep tie breaker in the Senate to get the job done. Our Veep had better be well vetted as we have enough Manchurian Candidates already in the Supreme Court.

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    • LAPhilComment by LAPhil
      July 3, 2012 @ 7:21 pm

      Inluminatuo, do you know the answer to my question? Can Harry Reid prevent the vote from taking place as long as he is the Senate majority leader?

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    • archangelComment by archangel
      July 4, 2012 @ 9:16 am

      Agree joelinpdx. After I settled down, post RobertS Decision,
      I took that “LEMON” to make some “LEMONADE”.
      Just a thought: Roberts delivered a pointed, sharp object up the “hindend” of Obama and Obummercare. “IT’S A TAX”!
      Time will tell but once the “liberals” stop dancing the fact remains that a humoungous TAX has been perpetrated on the American People. TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION! THINK WE HAVE BEEN HERE BEFORE?
      “IT’S A TAX” so says the
      Supreme Court of the United States.

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  8. Cape ConservativeComment by Cape Conservative
    July 3, 2012 @ 10:18 am

    Thank you, Dr. Sowell, for expressing our concerns so well. Why YOU haven’t been appointed to the Supreme Court is beyond my comprehension! Those currently sitting there on LIFETIME TENURE are sadly lacking the values of our founding fathers for a limited government.

    We the People are once again dismissed as ‘collateral damage’ by the beltway crowd.

    We the People will send our message via the voting booth LOUDLY & CLEARLY come November!

    We the People are sick and tired of being ignored!

    It is imperative that we elect CONSERVATIVE, CONSTITUTION-LOVING Republicans at every opportunity – and when the new Congress votes, for the sake of our beloved country, they MUST CHANGE the leadership to reflect TRUE AMERICAN VALUES! A few members have shown they DO have a strong backbone – Darrell Issa, Paul Ryan, Allen West to name just a few. It is time to end the thinking that people are ‘entitled’ to leadership roles simply because of seniority!

    We must focus on local and state as well as federal offices. With every Republican governor and attorney general elected, we can be assured that good governance will be the rule of the day…no more bad rulings on illegal voting etc. Every town and city should be working to ensure our voting lists are up-to-date…NO dead or illegals voting! With Republican governors, we could have PHOTO ID required all across the country! We must be able to believe our vote does count…as it is, one illegal negates one legal…which is WRONG WRONG WRONG!

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  9. curiouspatComment by curiouspat
    July 3, 2012 @ 10:45 am

    Main Entry: tax  [taks]
    Part of Speech: noun
    Definition: charge levied by government on property, income
    Synonyms: assessment, bite*, brokerage, capitation, contribution, cost, custom, dues, duty, excise, expense, fine, giveaway, imposition, impost, levy, obligation, pork barrel, price, rate, salvage, tariff, tithe, toll, towage, tribute

    I would add ‘fee’, ‘tab’ (car tab), and probably many more words, I’m just too angry to think about. WHEN GOV’T TAKES MONEY from us, IT’S A TAX.

    Dr. Sowell, Thank you for your ongoing courage in pointing out REALITY. I would vote for you for President, Vice President, or urge my congressfolk to confirm you as a Supreme Court Justice. Then I would pray you hold true to reality, the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and NOT take the pill or drink the kool-aid, they must absolutely give to those who go to DC at any level.

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  10. jqcitizenComment by jqcitizen
    July 3, 2012 @ 10:50 am

    Well said. We as a people have allowed progressives in Congress and the Courts to stretch and/or misinterpret both the word and the intent of our Constitution for political and social expediency to the extent that our laws would no longer be recognizable by the Founders. They have been able to eliminate the individual rights in favor of the majority or collective. They have weakened the separation-of-power doctrine by using the taxing power, spending power, regulation of interstate commerce, and the faulty misinterpretation of the term “general welfare” to effect the changes which destroy individual rights, state rights, and they have effectively used this faulty application of the Constitution’s granted power to effect undesirable changes in our Country. They have create faulty case law, have bribed States, have penalized and/or bribed business and individuals to achieve their vision of a better country. And they have accomplished most of this without that difficult Amendment process. Is it any wonder that we as individuals feel that a nation of the people and for the people no longer exist. It is time that “we the people” take our Country back. That is the only way our societal, economic, morality, and other problem can be corrected. All concerned Americans must rely on our God as did our forefathers and trust not what our politicians say but only what they do. We must demand that all Congress subscribe to the beliefs or remove them from office in the coming election.

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  11. mvotano58Comment by mvotano58
    July 3, 2012 @ 10:52 am

    “But he fell back on the long-standing principle of judicial interpretation that the courts should not declare a law unconstitutional if it can be reasonably read in a way that would make it constitutional, out of “deference” to the legislative branch of government.” Just because you put a saddle on a duck that doesn’t make it a horse.

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    • LAPhilComment by LAPhil
      July 3, 2012 @ 12:19 pm

      Like the analogy, mvotano58. Kind of like the one about putting lipstick on a pig (how does the rest of that go?).

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    • archangelComment by archangel
      July 4, 2012 @ 9:23 am

      To one of your previous comments about Harry Reid not bringing
      the “repeal obamacare” issue to the floor I believe once the Senate is taken over by the GOP Harry Reid will not be a consideration because he will no longer be the Majority Whip in the Senate.
      If I am wrong please correct me! Anyone!

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    • LAPhilComment by LAPhil
      July 4, 2012 @ 10:30 am

      archangel:
      I’m fairly certain that Reid will still be the Senate Majority Leader (not the Whip) unless the Republicans decide to replace him after the election, as he is not up for re-election until 2016. I know he’s going to refuse to take up the vote in the Senate when the House votes next week, but I don’t know if he can do this indefinitely or not. I guess I’m going to have to do some further research on this.

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  12. stevealevineComment by stevealevine
    July 3, 2012 @ 10:54 am

    It sounds like all you geniuses are far more knowledgeable about the Constitution than that ignorant Chief Justice Roberts! It seems like just yesterday when he was every rightwingnut’s favorite sun, but one stupid move…like interpreting the Constitution with integrity and his understanding of the Founders’ intent…and he’s now eligible for membership in the conservative pantheon of traitors like Earl Warren and both Bushes.

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    • LAPhilComment by LAPhil
      July 3, 2012 @ 11:55 am

      It’s not just that we don’t like his decision, it’s the way he came about it. Where does the Chief Justice get off re-writing or re-defining a law just to make it pass constitutional muster? What happened to objectively deciding cases based on the facts?

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    • CharieComment by Charie
      July 3, 2012 @ 12:58 pm

      I know you liberals will cover up anything perpetrated by your elected or appointed officials but that isn’t the Republican way. If we don’t think an incumbent’s, whether elected or appointed, behavior warrants it, we like to see transgressions out in the open because unlike the present administration, we actually believe in transparency, not just talk about it.

      For Conservatives, Roberts’ actions were a stab in the back and we have the right, no, the duty to bring it out in the open and discuss it. Some think he did a clever thing. I don’t, I’m with Dr. Sowell on this and I’d pit his brainpower against anyone else’s in this country.

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    • archangelComment by archangel
      July 4, 2012 @ 9:34 am

      His decision was based on “NOT LEGISLATING FROM THE BENCH” or Changing Constitutional Law from the Bench.
      Many Judges are in fact “Legislating” from the Bench to suit their own view of the Constitution.
      I didn’t like Robert’s Decision but it just might help knock this present “imposter” out of the White House and bring sanity back to the United States.

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  13. jqcitizenComment by jqcitizen
    July 3, 2012 @ 10:55 am

    Well said. We as a people have allowed progressives in Congress and the Courts to stretch and/or misinterpret both the word and the intent of our Constitution for political and social expediency to the extent that our laws would no longer be recognizable by the Founders. They have been able to eliminate the an individual rights in favor of the majority or collective. They have weakened the separation-of-power doctrine by using the taxing power, spending power, regulation of interstate commerce, and the faulty misinterpretation of the term “general welfare” to effect the changes which destroy individual rights, state rights, and they have effectively used this faulty application of the Constitution’s granted power to effect undesirable changes in our Country. They have create faulty case law, have bribed States, have penalized and/or bribed business and individuals to achieve their vision of a better country. And they have accomplished most of this without that difficult Amendment process. Is it any wonder that we as individuals feel that a nation of the people and for the people no longer exist. It is time that “we the people” take our Country back. That is the only way our societal, economic, morality, and other problems can be corrected. All concerned Americans must rely on our God as did our forefathers and trust not what our politicians say but only what they do.

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  14. jqcitizenComment by jqcitizen
    July 3, 2012 @ 10:57 am

    Well said. We as a people have allowed progressives in Congress and the Courts to stretch and/or misinterpret both the word and the intent of our Constitution for political and social expediency to the extent that our laws would no longer be recognizable by the Founders. They have been able to eliminate the an individual rights in favor of the majority or collective. They have weakened the separation-of-power doctrine by using the taxing power, spending power, regulation of interstate commerce, and the faulty misinterpretation of the term “general welfare” to effect the changes which destroy individual rights, state rights, and they have effectively used this faulty application of the Constitution’s granted power to effect undesirable changes in our Country. They have create faulty case law, have bribed States, have penalized and/or bribed business and individuals to achieve their vision of a better country. And they have accomplished most of this without that difficult Amendment process. Is it any wonder that we as individuals feel that a nation of the people and for the people no longer exist. It is time that “we the people” take our Country back. That is the only way our societal, economic, morality, and other problem can be corrected. All concerned Americans must rely on our God as did our forefathers and trust not what our politicians say but only what they do.

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  15. marvelous maxComment by marvelous max
    July 3, 2012 @ 11:07 am

    Sowell is a traitor to civil rights.

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    • genesalComment by genesal
      July 3, 2012 @ 11:10 am

      Think so? Why? What does that have to do with this subject?

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    • joelinpdxComment by joelinpdx
      July 3, 2012 @ 11:34 am

      It’s because he won’t stay on the plantation genesal. Any black who won’t toe the line and back all causes liberal must be a traitor to his race. Funny thing is here, he is more on the liberal path than the one taken by the GOP.

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    • LAPhilComment by LAPhil
      July 3, 2012 @ 11:44 am

      Marvelous one: How do you figure that?

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    • CharieComment by Charie
      July 3, 2012 @ 1:06 pm

      Thomas Sowell was a champion of black civil rights and still is. He’s simply wise enough to see the Democrats have marched black people down the road to another type of slavery! They’re slaves now to the party of “The War on Poverty” which has torn apart their families, made them reliant on hand-outs from the government,and taken away their will to succeed. Guess what? There are more in poverty now than when Johnson started that particular War.

      Everyone on this website is now dumber for reading your post.

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  16. marvelous maxComment by marvelous max
    July 3, 2012 @ 11:10 am

    Roberts performed as he promised during his nomination.
    The Court only had to decide if Congress could pass the health care legislation.
    The Constitution gives it that power.
    It doesn’t say that the Courts have to agree with it.

    Roberts upheld the whole Constitutional structure of government.

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    • JDZComment by JDZ
      July 3, 2012 @ 11:34 am

      I think you totally missed the reason the legislation was put in front of the court to start with, which was to determine if it was actually adhering to the laws as defined by the Constitution. Congress can pass any legislation, through extortion or otherwise, and in the case of Obamacare through a backdoor “reconciliation” process that was not appropriate for a bill of the complexity and impact of the ACA. The primary job of the Supreme Court is to determine if laws or legislation is within the boundaries of our Constitution and the healthcare mandate part of Obamacare was challenged as to whether or not it is constitutional, under the commerce laws, to force someone to buy a product or service, and if they chose not to, to fine them. That was the essence of the issue with the legislation. The consensus is that using the commerce laws to force someone to buy a product or service is UNCONSTITUTIONAL and if Roberts had stuck with that argument, he would have had to find the legislation unconsitutional and the whole bill would have been sent back to Congress. Instead, in midstream, he decided to call it a “tax” which is within the power of Congress to do, according to him, thus giving him a weak argument to not find the bill unconstitutional. He basically did not do his job. He wimped out probably due to political pressure and did not have the intestinal fortitude to strictly interpret the mandate as the legal challenged issue and find accordingly.

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  17. lowlifeComment by lowlife
    July 3, 2012 @ 11:20 am

    Dr. Sowell gets it right, again. Roberts sold out the Constitution and the country and it doesn’t really matter why he did it, or what sort of fallacious theory he uses to try to justify it.

    This man is unfit to hold any public office and if there is ever a Senate with integrity, he (along with half the federal judiciary) should be impeached and removed from office.

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    • joelinpdxComment by joelinpdx
      July 3, 2012 @ 11:41 am

      That’s right, throw Justice Roberts under the bus because you don’t like one decision. You can’t get much more narrow minded than that.

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    • CharieComment by Charie
      July 3, 2012 @ 1:10 pm

      Actually, Joe, that was the second decision in a row to appall Conservatives.

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    • genesalComment by genesal
      July 4, 2012 @ 2:25 pm

      Third in a row if you count ‘Stolen Valor’.

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  18. NY GrahamComment by NY Graham
    July 3, 2012 @ 11:33 am

    All three branches of government swear an oath to defend the Constitution.

    The Legislative branch is obliged to pass laws that are permitted under the Constitution. In this case, it failed.

    The Executive Branch is obliged to veto laws that are unconstitutional. The President failed.

    The Judiciary is obliged to strike down laws that are unconstitutional. It failed.

    No one branch need show “deference” to another. The system of checks and balances requires that all branches obey the Constitution.

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    • genesalComment by genesal
      July 3, 2012 @ 11:41 am

      Here! Here!

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  19. sidesliderComment by sideslider
    July 3, 2012 @ 11:40 am

    I’ve been reading The GOPUSA “Blog” (if that is what this is) for several years, and have been reading many of the user comments following the various articles. However this is the first comment that I’ve submitted.

    Let me say that I’m a 67 year young conservative male. While I feel there are several provisions in the The Affordable Care Act / “Obamacare” that are “good thoughts” – there are many more parts of it that I did not consider to be “good” and / or, were totally unrelated to it’s implied purpose. For this reasons (primarily because it, like so many recent Congressional “Bills” did not / does not confine itself to ONE “Titled purpose”) and the apparent “fact” that it is a “Bill” that was primarily authored by, protective of, and benefiting to, the Insurance Industry – not “The People” -and- the way it was being revised and extended right up to it’s final and adoptive vote, with no time available for even the best and most responsible congressman to read it , keep up with it’s changes, and truly “know” what all provisions were being included in a 2700 +/- page piece of proposed legislation, plus the fact that implementation “requires such a great expansion of Government “oversight” and expansion of the Federal bureaucracy — “I” did not, and do not, support it – and feel it to be one of the worst, if not THE worst piece of legislation to have been passed in my lifetime.

    Further, I’d like to say to the reader, that because I’m retired (a retired Civil Engineer – not a Lawyer) and “have the time”, I have in fact downloaded and personally struggled thru reading the Act after it’s passage in 2010.

    Now, with that said, I’d like to comment on the recent SCOTUS ruling handed down last week. (Which I have also downloaded and read thru) i.e. the Syllabus of the questions before the court as well as the four opinions of the court – Chief Justice Roberts “majority Opinion”, as well as the other three disenting and minority opinions which were published.

    First – The questions before the court were very limited and narrow in their scope. The entirity of the Act was not not under SCOTUS Review! ONLY two provisions of this 2700 +/- page act were under review – 1. The so called “Individual Mandate”, and 2. The expansion of the federal Medicaid provisions / coverage.

    In support of Chief Justice Roberts “apparent” switch from what has seemed to be his basically “conservative” views and strict interpretation of the provisions of our U.S. Constitution – I feel that he’s done the “right thing” by joining in an affirmative majority ruling on the “Indivdual mandate” and the ruling that the states may refuse to implement the Acts federally mandated expansion of Medicaid – without being penalized by a federal witholding of “all” Federal Medicaid funding support – that portion of support that falls under the “expanded provisions”.

    Why do I feel this way? Because, the implementation dates applicable to the majority of the Acts provisions are still “in the future” (2014), by returning a SCOTUS ruling “upholding Obamacare” the court keeps the public discusion on this Act “alive and active”. As such, We The People, still have the opportunity in this 2012 election year, to have our voice be heard in the federal election, by voting out of the Presidential office – the current occupant, by maintaining, or increasing the current majority in the House of Representatives, and by reversing the current minority position in the Senate. Only by doing this, can the larger goal – the total repeal of the “Obamacare Act” be accomplished and a fair, reasoned, and affordable overhaul of the out of control, and ever increasing cost of health care be considered.

    My final “wish” if this were to happen is that in the “governmental solution” adopted to replace “Obamacare”, if, in fact, it has to be a “governmental solution” is that it be accomplished in a fair and bi-partisan manner reflecting the statesmanship, debate, and compromise worthy of our founding fathers memories.

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    • CharieComment by Charie
      July 3, 2012 @ 1:18 pm

      Government has no business having anything to do with medical health care. Its meddling is the cause of high prices and the plethora of regulations are so onerous it takes twice as much office help to simply comply with government regulations.

      I vote government gets the hell out of the medical field and leaves the treatment of my family and I to medical personnel. Why in the world would we want more politicians messing around in medicines when they’ve already managed to muddle it up so grandly?

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  20. JDZComment by JDZ
    July 3, 2012 @ 11:42 am

    What is a glaring disappointment in this matter is that Roberts chose to side with the two newbies, Kagan and Satamayor, both which to me were poor choices to be appointed lifetime positions on our highest Court to start with, and Justice Ginsberg who has publicly stated that she would not recommend our Constitution to any country to adopt. Instead of going with really experienced and long term Justices who have been around the block a few times and know what they are doing, he went to the other side.

    It raises questions about Justice Roberts that are not complementary having to do with where his head is about his role as our Chief Justice, and his interpretation of our Constitution.

    My respect and trust of the Supreme Court has been lowered down to the same levels as the rest of Congress and our government in Washington across the board. The SCOTUS is our last resort to keep our country on track and keeping government at large from getting out of control, and he just made it worse. The government can now tax us for anything they want for any reason they can make up and there is nothing we can do about it.

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  21. jerrylauryComment by jerrylaury
    July 3, 2012 @ 11:48 am

    Why couldn’t it have been Chief Justice Sowell of SCOTUS rather than Roberts? Maybe because there are few rewards for honesty and integrity in this country.

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  22. vthommassonComment by vthommasson
    July 3, 2012 @ 12:27 pm

    The Supremes have been WAY wrong before. Anyone remember Dred Scott? and Roe v. Wade? oh, and let us not forget Wickard v. Filburn which started this whole “Commerce Clause” mess in the first place. There was nothing clever or wise about this decision, and if those of us who are responsible for electing the officials who appoint judges don’t know what the Constitution says and means, we damn sure better find out!

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    • CharieComment by Charie
      July 4, 2012 @ 10:19 am

      You’re correct abut that, vthommasson. I’d like to add to that the grossly illegal Kelo decision which said it was OK to take over private property, not just for the good of the community (widen a road, build a dam, etc.) but so it could be sold to a private entity.

      I was heartsick over that one for weeks!

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    • LAPhilComment by LAPhil
      July 4, 2012 @ 10:49 am

      Cherie, I’ve been thinking about that decision in the back of my mind as well. I remember I couldn’t believe it either.

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    • CharieComment by Charie
      July 4, 2012 @ 11:40 am

      Thanks, Phil. Good to know I wasn’t alone in my misery. LOL

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  23. stevealevineComment by stevealevine
    July 3, 2012 @ 12:27 pm

    If ever a man’s uswername reflected his outlook and attitude, it’s lowlife’s.

    Imagine the world he would have us inhabit: If we (whoever and however uninformed “we” is) don’t agree with lowlife’s vision of how a judge or other public office holder votes, off with his head!

    lowlife would feel very comfortable living in Venezuela or in 1938 Germany.

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  24. nickster99Comment by nickster99
    July 3, 2012 @ 12:37 pm

    Max your not so marvelous. Sowell is a man with brains and integrity! Get a life!

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  25. wdjincComment by wdjinc
    July 3, 2012 @ 12:42 pm

    At first I thought Roberts to be a traitor, but I believe his ruling is a victory for conservatives. It declares that we won’t have to worry about ‘Commerce Law’ infringements in the future as the penalty has been declared a tax. Now the battle lines are clearly set for November. If ObamaCare had been declared unconstitutional Obama and his communist liberal associates called ‘Progressives’ would have hurriedly put together modifications before the election and again jammed the revised version down our throats.

    The ruling also gives states an out and many of the states will not comply to ObamaCare without penalty. Since 26 states have had suits pending against ObamaCare look for all of them to back out. They can thank Roberts for that option

    Now the battle line for November’s election is more clearly focused and Romney has pledged to eliminate as his first priority. We will need a House and Senate majority as well to repeal but now it will only require 51 votes to repeal.

    This ruling will rejuvenate the Tea Party and many of the Christians. Catholics have already revved up their objections to this law with suits re: Freedom of Religion aspects. And Obama and company had prior promised that this was not a tax and he would not increase taxes for those earning less than $250K. I’m sure that the voters will respond to those lies. Remember what happened to the elder Bush when he said “read my lips” to no new taxes.

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