Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts on a Gut Shot Draw Against Barack Obama’s Pocket Aces in a High Stakes Game of America Hold’em
2:23 pm in 9 supreme court justices, Charles Krauthammer, Chief Justice John Roberts, conservative argument, Editorials, john roberts, judicial activism, legislative language, liberal wing, political power brokers, signature legislation, supreme court chief justice, supreme court chief justice john roberts, supreme court justices, Washington Post by Kevin A. Lehmann
In a full ring game of high stakes political poker (9 Supreme Court Justices and the President), at the end of the day it came down to a heads up competition between two deep stacks – Chief Justice John Roberts and President Obama. While the left clearly won a major victory, the right is claiming the river card has yet to be dealt.
In other words, Obama’s pocket aces survived the flop and are in the lead at the turn, but according to political power brokers like Krauthammer, Erickson and Morris, Roberts dealt a turn card that clearly gives America multiple outs and favorable pot odds to draw to a victorious hand at the river in November.
How? By Roberts rewriting the legislative language to deem Obamacare a massive federal tax and therefore painting Barack Obama as a flagrant liar!
Before I pontificate on the clear violation of judicial activism on Roberts’ part, let’s examine the claim from pundits that this was a shrewd move that sets up a victorious showdown in January assuming Romney eeks out a narrow victory in November and repeals Obamacare right from the git-go.
Charles Krauthammer’s Washington Post column today . . .
“It’s the judiciary’s Nixon-to-China: Chief Justice John Roberts joins the liberal wing of the Supreme Court and upholds the constitutionality of Obamacare. How? By pulling off one of the great constitutional finesses of all time. He managed to uphold the central conservative argument against Obamacare, while at the same time finding a narrow definitional dodge to uphold the law — and thus prevented the court from being seen as having overturned, presumably on political grounds, the signature legislation of this administration.”
He goes on to write . . .
Why did he do it? Because he carries two identities. Jurisprudentially, he is a constitutional conservative. Institutionally, he is chief justice and sees himself as uniquely entrusted with the custodianship of the court’s legitimacy, reputation and stature.
As a conservative, he is as appalled as his conservative colleagues by the administration’s central argument that Obamacare’s individual mandate is a proper exercise of its authority to regulate commerce.
That makes congressional power effectively unlimited. Mr. Jones is not a purchaser of health insurance. Mr. Jones has therefore manifestly not entered into any commerce. Yet Congress tells him he must buy health insurance — on the grounds that it is regulating commerce. If government can do that under the commerce clause, what can it not do?
“The Framers . . . gave Congress the power to regulate commerce, not to compel it,” writes Roberts. Otherwise you “undermine the principle that the Federal Government is a government of limited and enumerated powers.”
That’s Roberts, philosophical conservative. But he lives in uneasy coexistence with Roberts, custodian of the court, acutely aware that the judiciary’s arrogation of power has eroded the esteem in which it was once held. Most of this arrogation occurred under the liberal Warren and Burger courts, most egregiously with Roe v. Wade, which willfully struck down the duly passed abortion laws of 46 states. The result has been four decades of popular protest and resistance to an act of judicial arrogance that, as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg once said, “deferred stable settlement of the issue” by the normal electoral/legislative process.
Obamacare is now essentially upheld. There’s only one way it can be overturned. The same way it was passed — elect a new president and a new Congress. That’s undoubtedly what Roberts is telling the nation: Your job, not mine. I won’t make it easy for you.”
Dov Fischer wrote on American Thinker . . .
“Long after many of us are gone, this 5-4 opinion finally setting limits on the reach of the Commerce Clause will continue to affect American lives and protect private citizens from Washington’s intrusions.
It is understandable that most Americans, who are not law school graduates, do not think in these terms, nor do most pundits outside the legal community who interpret news. However, attorneys and certainly law professors get it. We know what happened on Thursday. It was subtle and below the radar, like a tsunami beginning in the middle of an ocean, still days away from the shore. Only the trained insiders know what that rumbling will cause in the future. This was a tsunami, finally giving us our first Supreme Court precedential holding in nearly a century that reins in the federal government’s unbridled abuse of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause. And the liberals, excited as they understandably are by the temporary survival of ObamaCare, do not even realize what has happened to a pillar of their enterprise. And that is fine.
Secondly, Chief Justice Roberts has punted the whole ninety yards, so to speak, with the expertise of a professional football kicker whose team has the ball on its own 8-yard-line, then punts ninety yards, pinning the other team on their own two-yard-line. Had Chief Justice Roberts sided completely with his four conservative colleagues, Obamacare now would be off the political table for the November elections. Obama would be campaigning and mobilizing his troops’ passions, arguing an urgent need to reconfigure the Court. Romney, by contrast, would be trying to mobilize passion for a lackluster campaign that is impelled legitimately by one crying urgency: jobs and the economy.”
Erick Erickson of Red State wrote . . .
“It seems very, very clear to me in reviewing John Roberts’ decision that he is playing a much longer game than us and can afford to with a life tenure. And he probably just handed Mitt Romney the White House.”
I couldn’t disagree more with these political prognosticators!
If anything, what John Roberts did was allow his ego to get in the way of his jurisprudence and vote to throw the American people, along with the Constitution, under the bus.
It was the height of judicial activism (judicial tax-writing). Judicial malfeasance would be more accurate — a sitting Supreme Court Chief Justice playing short-stacked political poker out of position against a deep-stacked worthy opponent with pocket rockets on the button who’s willing to ride them all the way to the river.
While Roberts may see it as a long term utility value play with positive expectation (a galvanizing of the conservative base and clarion call for them to rally around Mitt Romney and repeal Obamacare in January), five months is a lifetime in politics. Walking back a mammoth bill like Obamacare with more far-reaching tentacles than an octopus on steroids is akin to stopping a run away locomotive with your bare hands. It was a negative expectation bet on Roberts’ part and a costly one to the American taxpayer.
Obama’s willingness to aggressively bet his pocket aces (a bipartisan healthcare bill approved by both houses and passed into law) is clearly the stronger move with positive expected value.
Even with a favorable board, e.g. an up and down straight draw with a backdoor flush possibility and seventeen uncounterfeited outs to eclipse Obama’s aces on the river, America is still a 1.8 to 1 underdog.
Considering the fact that Roberts already put us “all in,” the odds are not in our favor.
In his high stakes game of political poker with President Obama, Roberts failed to counterfeit a few of his outs by underestimating how this colossal victory for the president would reenergize Obama’s moribund base. It’s the hope and change that many of his awol dissenters were looking for — socialized medicine and a step closer to an entitlement addicted nanny state.
Bottom line: The middle class just received the largest tax increase ever foisted upon the American people with this monstrosity of an unconstitutional bill that will absorb a full 1/6th of our GDP.
More importantly, it opens the floodgates for complete statist control of every aspect of our lives. The government now chooses the winners and losers of economy and penalizes those who don’t comply with their purchase mandate as we rapidly evolve into at best a plutocracy and at worst a socialist state headed by a despot that’s guided by his Marxist worldview.
The biggest cost of healthcare is obesity, so what’s next? A mega tax on salt? A surtax on specific fast food restaurants like McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King? Maybe I should open a health club that’s subsidized by Uncle Sam and ask him to penalize those members who don’t come in at least three times a week to keep from being a burden on our system of socialized medicine.
What’s to keep the government from mandating that I buy an electric car in the near future and if not, be taxed for contributing to “global warming?”
The answer is not a burgeoning interventionist federal government that stifles the private sector, puts medical practitioners out of business, decreases the quality of healthcare and stunts economic growth by making it cost prohibitive for companies to provide health insurance for their workforce.
The real solution is less burdensome regulation, lower taxes, more competition, including the ability to purchase insurance across state lines (interstate commerce) and the biggest grand daddy of them all, drum roll please . . . Tort Reform!
Go after the high priced lawyers and limit the ungodly amount of punitive damages that line the pockets of ambulance chasers at the expense of the hard-working middle class tax payers. That’s when you will drive down the cost of healthcare.
Spin it any way you want, but the fact of the matter is the GOP, Tea Party and Conservatives got our balls handed to us courtesy of John “Judas” Roberts — Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. He may know policy, but he doesn’t know poker.
Roberts got stacked by Obama and we got sacked by the largest single tax increase ever foisted upon the American people, a mere appetizer before taxmageddon when the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of the year.
Until next time . . . Wake Up America!
Kevin A. Lehmann