This week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6 to 3 in favor of the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare). The decision before the court determined that the “intention”—not the actual wording—of the law was sufficient to rule against the plaintiffs.
The ObamaCare law says, every American must buy health care insurance or pay a penalty tax. For those who do not have health care insurance coverage through one’s employer, one can purchase health care insurance coverage through one of two available “exchanges.” A state can provide an exchange for their citizens, and if they don’t then the federal government will provide an exchange. If one cannot afford health insurance coverage on one of the exchanges, the federal government will pay the person’s insurance premiums for them (a subsidy paid by tax payers), based on a sliding scale.
When the Democratic Congress wrote and passed ObamaCare in 2010 they stated in the bill that those who signed up for ObamaCare on a state exchange would receive the federal insurance premium subsidy. If they instead signed up for ObamaCare on a federal exchange, no such subsidy would be paid.
To the disappointment of the Democrats, only 16 states decided to create state exchanges. The remaining 34 states do not offer state exchanges; in those 36 states, the federal government had to create and offer federal exchanges. Because the law, as written, says subsidies are only available on “state exchanges,” folks who live in the other 34 states cannot get federal subsidies to pay their premiums.
Clearly the proponents of ObamaCare want and expect federal subsidies paid to anyone in any state on either exchange if they qualify. Did Democrats goof how they wrote the law? No. They wrote the law exactly as intended, fully expecting all states would create and offer state exchanges under threat of losing valuable federal funding for Medicaid. But 34 states failed to cave, frustrating proponents of ObamaCare. That’s how this case came to the Supreme Court.
I believe ObamaCare is flatly unconstitutional. ObamaCare is unconstitutional on the grounds the Constitution does NOT specifically give the federal government the authority to mandate individuals buy health insurance. Or buy anything, for that matter—the government cannot force a person to buy anything, by threat of force, or penalty. The penalty for not buying health insurance for yourself in this case is the ObamaCare federal tax penalty.
What the Supreme Court did this week was decide for themselves to interpret what the creators of ObamaCare law intended regardless of wording of the actual law. Granted, the 2010 Democratic Congress’ intention is obvious, but it’s not up to the Supreme Court to guess or correct what the writers of a law clearly wrote; the job of the Supreme Court is only to decide court cases. We have two types of law in America: statutory law and common law. Statutory law are the laws written and passed by Congress. Common law is based on tradition, customs, and court decisions made in previous cases.
If the ObamaCare law was poorly worded—confusing its intention—the court should have sent the law back to Congress to rewrite and repass. Instead, the court rewrote a clearly written law (statute) on behalf of Congress. Only Congress is charged with writing laws. And all three branches judicial, legislative, and executive have equal authority and responsibility to decide a law’s constitutionality. The Supreme Court has the Constitutional authority only to decide court cases before them, based on statutes and common law. The Constitution does NOT give the Supreme Court the last word on what is or isn’t Constitutional. Ultimately, it’s “we the people” who decide how we wish to be governed.
If anything, the Supreme Court was charged with having the least amount of power of the three branches of government.
We have over 10,000 documents, articles, letters and speeches from our Founders telling us exactly what the Founders’ intentions were when they wrote the U.S. Constitution. Being a Supreme Court Justice should be the easiest job in the world!
The rise of the Supreme Court’s power over the legislative and executive branches is as predictable as man’s nature. Jefferson and others warned us the Constitution did not put sufficient restraints on the judicial branch. And it’s not just the fault of power-hungry justices, who are, after all, people like you and I. Congress and the President have abdicated their own responsibilities to the judicial branch because Congressmen and Presidents are afraid to make the hard decisions that would lose them the next election—give the hot potato to the judges, they don’t have to worry about re-election!
Life-time appointment to the Federal Judiciary must be ended.