Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. is too “mentally erratic” to serve in any capacity in the Senate’s hearing of the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, said Rep. Mo Brooks, Republican from Alabama, in a recent interview on WVNN radio that was reported by Breitbart.
He’s got a point.
Roberts, for those who recall the whole Obamacare shameful debacle, served as the necessary fifth vote to judiciously uphold the health care act, writing the opinion for the majority on the Supreme Court and saying — unbelievably — that it was indeed constitutional because the mandate portion of it was indeed a tax and therefore, indeed, Congress had the right to pass it.
His argument defied logic because he made the very case the attorneys for Barack Obama argued against: that the Obamacare mandate was a tax.
And why did the attorneys for Obama argue against that idea?
Because had the Obamacare mandate been considered a tax, then the court would’ve had to rule it unconstitutional — therefore, negating the whole meat of the abysmal piece of legislation. As the Constitution makes clear: It’s the job of the House of Representatives, not the Senate or the executive, to create bills that raise revenues.
Or, as Ilya Shapiro put it, in a Forbes opinion: “As we all know … Roberts changed the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate into a tax and thus rescued President Obama’s signature legislation. What you may not know is that with this slight of hand — or flick of the wrist — he actually sent Obamacare flying from the constitutional frying pan into the constitutional fire.”
And now this same Roberts is due to assume a position of notable notoriety when — if? — the articles of impeachment make it to Senate headquarters?
His position will be one of presiding over the hearings and, while his power is limited, he can still exert influence.
“He’s going to be making rulings,” Judge Andrew Napolitano said on Fox News, “but the jurors can overrule him. … The jurors are the senators.”
It only takes a simple majority of senators, 51, to overrule any decision Roberts might make. But still.
But still: Obamacare.
But still, on that: “Roberts engaged in this kind of legal gymnastics in his own brain that all eight of the other Supreme Court justices thought was rather bizarre,” Brooks said. “So I don’t trust John Roberts’ judgment.”
With the Senate firmly in the hand of Republicans, it would seem a long shot that Roberts could disrupt the law and order and GOP will of the impeachment proceedings — or even that he’d want to; even that he’d have that will or purpose. But who knows?
Judicial activism is real.
One need only look to Obamacare to see that.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter, @ckchumley.
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