Tarkenton: Ruling Is Not About Constitutionality

Friday, 29 Jun 2012 02:33 PM

By Fran Tarkenton

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I am not a Constitutional scholar. I am not going to get down into the nitty-gritty legal arguments behind Thursday’s historic ruling upholding most of Obamacare. But what I do know is that recent critics of the Supreme Court as an institution ought to be ashamed of themselves.

In the weeks leading up to today’s ruling, I heard countless pundits and read many editorials in the mainstream press attacking the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts.

AP-justice-john-roberts-2006.jpg
Chief Justice John Roberts appearing at a 2006 conference.
(AP Photo)
The common attacks: “All the rulings are politically motivated”; “These justices are not balanced”; “Things are worse than ever.” Among Obamacare supporters, the presumed swing vote was Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose jurisprudence was described as thoughtful and wise (in obvious attempts to woo his vote).

Meanwhile Roberts was hung out to dry as a vulgar politician, not an impartial judge. The criticism was heard for all four of the more conservative justices on the court, but it was particularly strong against Roberts, especially after it became apparent he would be writing the majority decision, no matter which way the case went.

Pundits began speculating about ways to fight back against what they presumed would be a setback for Obamacare, including court-packing schemes and proposed super-majority rules.

But in the 5-4 ruling, it was Chief Justice Roberts who provided the swing vote to uphold Obamacare, not Justice Kennedy.

Whether you agree with the ruling or not, it ought to quiet Supreme Court detractors who accuse the justices of only voting the party line.

Intelligent, reasonable people can actually disagree about difficult questions — and it’s wrong to jump to the conclusion that anyone who disagrees with your opinion on an issue is unethical and intellectually dishonest.

In the end, Justice Kennedy voted his conscience — and voted to overturn the law. And Chief Justice Roberts also voted his conscience — and voted to uphold it.

I believe the other seven justices all did the same thing, as well, reaching differing conclusions without sacrificing any intellectual integrity.

Democrats in Washington and the mainstream press owe Chief Justice Roberts and his Court an apology for the heinous way he was treated— abused just because of something people thought he would do.

And even if he had voted the other way and repealed the law, it does not mean his vote would have been any less scrupulous.

While I will continue to fight against Obamacare, I say, good for John Roberts.

He did not rule whether Obamacare was good policy or not; he was simply voting his mind on whether the law was constitutional. But there’s a big gap between something that’s constitutional and something that’s good policy — and that’s where opponents of the law need to focus.

The simple fact is that 68 percent of Americans support repeal of the law in whole or in part — and for good reason. Just because the law is ruled constitutional does not change that.

The problem is not just constitutionality, but actuality.

The actuality is that we cannot afford this massive new tax on the American small business community and middle class.

We cannot afford this massive new government program. We cannot afford this massive financial burden on the American people.

While the case might no longer be before the Supreme Court, there’s no way for the law to avoid real life. Whether it comes sooner or later, the American people will realize just what they can and cannot afford.

Fran Tarkenton is the Founder and CEO of OneMoreCustomer.com, a web resource for Small Business Advocacy and Education. After his Hall of Fame football career, Fran had a successful career in television and then turned to business. He has founded and built more than 20 successful companies and now spends his time coaching aspiring entrepreneurs. Read more reports from Fran Tarkenton — Click Here Now.

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