Cato Chairman Bob Levy gives you the real story behind the Roberts/Obamacare decision.
From a constitutional perspective, the decision was a mixed bag. The good parts are new limits on the Commerce and Spending Powers. Those limits are very important going forward. But the Taxing Power argument could be pernicious. If the Roberts opinion were interpreted to mean that Congress could force you to do whatever it wants by penalizing you for not doing it — and if your only recourse were the ballot box — that would eradicate the notion of limited government under a republic bound by a Constitution.
And Levy concludes:
The Roberts opinion is a masterpiece of political compromise. It gives something to everyone. It suggests that Justice Roberts was intent on consensus-building and ensuring that the court doesn’t have an overtly political or ideological cast. Those motives aren’t inherently bad unless, as in this case, they lead to legal analyses that condone an unconstitutional law. That’s why Justice Roberts’ Obamacare opinion ultimately failed. Once again, the court found a way to expand the reach of the federal government at the expense of individual liberty.
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