Tuesday, July 10, 2012

We're In The Batter's Box

Way back when Congress passed the 2400-page monstrosity known as the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. "ObamaCare") so that we could all find out what was in it, there was a raging controversy about whether or not the "individual mandate" to buy health insurance constituted a tax. The President insisted it was not one -- that it was a "fee" -- and defended that notion publicly and boldly. See for yourself (slide to the 2:30 timeframe or so if you are only interested in the salient part of this interview with George Stephanopoulos):



On June 28, 2012, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled on the constitutionality of the law. Most Americans, even those who supported the passage of ObamaCare, were shocked when Chief Justice Judge John Roberts turned out to be the swing vote that served to uphold the law. His ruling seemed to come out of left field.

But did it?

As someone who is conservative because my worldview seems to me to demand it, I despise the very notion of ObamaCare. I oppose the political view of those (including the president) who pushed the law on us. I detest the spineless political maneuvering of "pro-life" politicians who allowed the law to pass by placing their political ideology above their supposed moral opposition to abortion. I think the politicians who defend ObamaCare and the mandate it imposes on the American people are misguided at best, but more probably disingenuous frauds. All that said, it probably seems bizarre for me to admit it but ...

I'm glad Judge Roberts voted the way he did.

Let's remember that during his confirmation hearings before the Senate, Roberts was opposed by political liberals because they believed him to be a conservative who threatened to overturn rulings like Roe-v-Wade. Conservatives defended him as being a non-activist who would interpret the law based on the real meaning of the Constitution -- that he would act the way judges should act -- and not be beholden to the latest fad or the grossly relativistic, post-modern view that the Constitution means whatever some black-robed tyrant in Washington D.C. decides it meant "to him/her." Roberts himself described his view of judicial restraint by insisting that:*
Judges and justices are servants of the law, not the other way around. Judges are like umpires. Umpires don't make the rules; they apply them ...
The role of an umpire and a judge is critical. They make sure everybody plays by the rules. But it is a limited role. Nobody ever went to a ball game to see the umpire.
I have no agenda, but I do have a commitment. If I am confirmed, I will confront every case with an open mind. I will fully and fairly analyze the legal arguments that are presented. I will be open to the considered views of my colleagues on the bench. And I will decide every case based on the record, according to the rule of law, without fear or favor, to the best of my ability. And I will remember that it's my job to call balls and strikes and not to pitch or bat.
When he said that, I applauded him. So did most conservatives who respect the Constitution and the rule of law. We were sick and tired of the activist liberal judges who were happy to twist the law and the Constitution any way they pleased as long as they were able to achieve the outcome their political allies approved of. If all judges approached their responsibilities in the way Roberts claimed he would, we would never have ended up with the disgusting and indefensible travesty of Roe-v-Wade, for instance. And this is why I still support Roberts' decision even as I oppose the law his vote upheld.

When the president denied the individual mandate was a tax, everyone who was paying attention knew it was a joke. Now that Judge Roberts insists it really is a tax, conservatives are up in arms, not because they disagree with Roberts, but because they don't like the outcome his vote has brought. Many have written scathing articles about Roberts, including Frank Turek whom I greatly respect. Frank's article, "John Roberts: The Umpire Who Homered For The Wrong Team," is a case in point.

Have we forgotten that umpires aren't supposed to be on one of the teams ... even if it's the team we're rooting for?

I don't like the outcome that we face with the prospect of ObamaCare, but I do like the idea that judges don't have any right to make up nonsense to defend the point of view they prefer. Roberts said the ObamaCare mandate is a tax, just like I and other conservatives like me have been saying since its inception. That's because it is one.

The fact is that the blame for the travesty of ObamaCare does not lie with John Roberts -- it lies in the Congress who voted it into law. Which means that ultimately it lies with you and me.

So, since we're doing baseball analogies here, it's time to step up to the plate. We can whine and complain or we can motivate those who really do believe in the American Experiment to get off their apathetic backsides and do something about it. We can elect a Congress and a president that share a love of liberty, justice and the Judeo-Christian underpinnings of our nation. We can demand our religious liberty not be ignored. We can demand that the collectivism and tyranny of an out-of-control government bureaucracy be rolled back. We can condemn the immorality of the imposing tsunami of debt that is being unleashed on our children and grandchildren, and demand that it be dammed up.

We can let John Roberts be an umpire ... and we can hit the homerun.


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* http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/13/AR2005091300693.html
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