Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist has taken Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to task for casting the deciding vote in favor of upholding President Barack Obama's healthcare reform law.
Roberts justified the law’s requirement that individuals buy healthcare insurance or face a penalty by classifying the mandate as a tax. He also wrote that “we do not consider whether the Act embodies sound policies . . . It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.”
“Justice Roberts believes he is limiting the power of the central government by requiring it to change the reason it gives for forcing Americans to behave as told,” Norquist writes on Politico
Norquist was referring to the White House’s initial attempt to justify the individual mandate as a use of Congress’ power to regulate interstate commerce rather than as a tax increase.
“Before: we can force you to do what we want because the ‘commerce clause’ gives us that power,” Norquist writes. “Now, the government can threaten you with a tax large enough to bludgeon you to do what it wants you to do. This appears to be a distinction without a difference.”
The bottom line of Roberts’ decision: “He has slammed shut the old door and opened a new one,” Norquist says. “I suppose that laws for the last 100 years that simply asserted the right to push us around because of the Commerce Clause are all vulnerable. Future laws will be written to fit Mr. Robert's preferred excuse for statism. I think I miss Harriet Miers.”
In 2005, President George W. Bush nominated Miers to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, but Miers withdrew amid a lack of congressional support. Samuel Alito was named to the seat instead.
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