Right Wing Reactions to Health Care Ruling


It’s going to be fun to watch the right wing put out their pre-written responses to the Supreme Court upholding the individual health insurance mandate. You know everyone had multiple statements written in advance depending on the outcome, right? My favorite so far is from Ross Kaminsky at the American Spectator, under the breathless headline: “Roberts Wrecks America.”

This is nothing short of a disaster for the nation, and a huge black mark on John Roberts’ legacy.

In reading from his dissent, Justice Kennedy said “In our view, the entire Act before us is invalid in its entirety.”

In speaking with others, I noted that Roberts was the Court member who worried me most; more than Kennedy. Still, I am fairly stunned by this outcome and can’t help but feel that the soul of our nation has just been lost.

The soul of the nation is lost! But since nations don’t have “souls” anymore than people do, that doesn’t really bother me.

And here’s Sarah Palin:

Obama lied to the American people. Again. He said it wasn’t a tax. Obama lies; freedom dies.

Freedom dies, along with the “soul” of the nation! And of course, Roberts is now being savaged. NRO’s live blog declares him to be a “complete squish” and “another in the long list of GWB mistakes.”

Comments

  1. jeremydiamond says

    The best part is that Kaminsky’s article (and probably many of the articles you’re about to read) have probably just undergone revisions that amount to swapping the names “Roberts” and “Kennedy.”

  2. Reginald Selkirk says

    But since nations don’t have “souls” anymore than people do…

    I clicked through and found that this is yours, not Kaminsky’s. Check your blockquotes.

  3. oranje says

    This would make for an interesting continuation of the discussion surrounding the article on cruel and unusual punishment.

    The opposition, in legal language, seems to be tied up between strict constructionist policies (which are massively difficult to interpret to me, with history receding further and further beyond the horizon and interpretation by necessity a context and culture specific exercise) and the notion of violating religious liberty by forcing citizens to fund activities to which they are ethically opposed.

    I am by no means a lawyer or Constitution expert, but is there any kind of legal consensus on the latter argument? I’ve never read the Bill of Rights in that manner, and the religious creep that would go along with it is quite concerning were it to be supported by the majority.

  4. Mr Ed says

    I am reminded of Saint Reagan’s speech about how Medicare was the end of Americans being free. In a couple of years when Obama care is the new third rail conservatives will be talking about their contributions.

  5. Abby Normal says

    Oranje, yes, the government can absolutely force citizens to fund things that some people object to on moral grounds. How could it be otherwise? Imagine if a citizen could shut down any government program by saying it offends their religious convictions. The government would quickly cease to exist.

  6. oranje says

    Abby – I completely agree, but I fear that, at some point, it will be interpreted that way by the courts. I don’t read any of the available literature that way, but I was curious if it could, in any way, be read that way and backed up.

    It’s certainly not the kind of country in which I want to live.

    “The FDIC is against my religion… I’m not paying my taxes.”

  7. jerthebarbarian says

    oranje @8

    “The FDIC is against my religion… I’m not paying my taxes.”

    Change that to any one of:

    “War is against my religion. I’m not paying my taxes.”
    “The Death Penalty is against my religion. I’m not paying my taxes.”
    “Charging interest on money is against my religion, so paying interest on the federal debt is an affront to my religion. I’m not paying my taxes.”

    … and you can quickly see why this isn’t going to be a problem. That first one alone would knock out a good sized group of taxpayers (and many Evangelical Churches would probably “suddenly” discover the anti-war message in the Bible if their Holy Rollers suddenly found out that they could claim certain “religious beliefs” as a reason for not paying taxes).

  8. oranje says

    To follow up on that, I don’t see anything in the Establishment Clause that would support the religious liberty argument, but the Free Exercise Clause seems more complicated. The Supreme Court’s ruling in 1878 seems to help to clarify, but it also complicates things just a touch.

    I don’t see how, but I worry that an argument that the use of taxpayer money to, for example, fund contraception will be interpreted as violating the Free Exercise Clause. Again, that seems to be a scary place to live, and I don’t think we’re on the precipice of that, but it is an argument for which we need to be prepared.

  9. sailor1031 says

    …..”the government can absolutely force citizens to fund things that some people object to on moral grounds.”

    Wars in Afghanistan, Irak, Yemen; an insanely bloated military research budget; a CIA that tortures and kills; the “war on drugs”; “faith-based” charities; need I continue?

  10. Abby Normal says

    Oranje, for an introduction on how the courts weigh competing rights I’d recommend looking into strict scrutiny, rational basis review, and intermediate (or exacting) scrutiny. I’m sure Wikipedia can get you started.

  11. oranje says

    jer – an excellent point. It is, of course, overly broad, so I guess I’m just worried that it could be cleverly narrowed. Again, I don’t really see how, but I’m not a lawyer or expert in these matters.

    I suppose I’m just a bit rattled by the constant noise of “religious liberty.” I probably just need to realize that argument doesn’t hold THAT much popularity.

    Still, I’d love to watch someone argue about the FDIC. Or the Post Office! How dare they have Eid stamps! That’s against my religion!

  12. oranje says

    Abby – Thank you for the terms on which I can start. I think I’ve got my afternoon of reading all set! Greatly appreciated.

  13. DaveL says

    In reading from his dissent, Justice Kennedy said “In our view, the entire Act before us is invalid in its entirety.”

    I haven’t read the dissents yet, but did Kennedy really write “the entire Act before us is invalid in its entirety?” Was this regarding the “Act For Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”?

  14. oranje says

    Dave – It appears so, yes. At the end of the dissent, the quote is “In our view it must follow that the entire statue is inoperative” (page 130 of the PDF of the ruling). Much of the dissent seems based on the fact that the Court has never ruled on the Commerce Clause and the like as extending that far, therefore they cannot support it. Very constructionist, cautious. They then cite the 10th Amendment as making the Act invalid, as it is the Federal government going too far. A short, interesting read. I, as a layperson, agree with the majority, but the dissent certainly doesn’t read as a damning invective against the Act, and grants that Congress has the power to enact similar legislation.

  15. dingojack says

    Or how about just ‘paying any kind of tax is against my religion*’ – so no one pays the hated taxes. That’ll work out fine, just look at Greece – oh wait!
    :) Dingo
    ——
    * My kingdom is not of this world…

  16. oranje says

    “Women will be especially hurt by today’s decision. As we have seen with the contraception mandate, the politicization of so-called women issues by the left leaves the majority of women extremely vulnerable to the exploitation of a few radical groups that exert much political influence in Congress and the White House.

    Women want to make their own decisions when it comes to their health care, with the support of their families and their doctors. It’s preposterous to suggest the government would do a better job at deciding what is best for us and our loved ones.”

    Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America via Right Wing Watch. Oh dear. That second paragraph is creating massive dissonance for me w/r/t women and their health care choices, especially with the contraception mandate cited in the first paragraph.

    RWW is making a list of general right-wing commentary on the Supreme Court ruling. Worth a read if you can stomach it.

  17. iangould says

    So all those rightwing blowhards proclaiming tihs is the end of the American republicand the dawn of a Marxist dictatorship are now going ro take up arms agaisnt the tyrant, right?

    I meanm if not that’d mean they’re all either liars or cowards.

  18. oranje says

    Some of the reaction in opposition to the ACA are bothering me. That’s an understatement, really. I am a small business owner and I teach part-time. I make enough where I don’t qualify for Federal insurance programs, but buying a policy myself would cost up around $400 a month or so. I don’t have that. That’s almost my mortgage payment.

    I’d like to not have to get a fourth job to protect me if I get sick or injured. I don’t think that’s “socialistic and oppressive” (Troy Newman, Operation Rescue) or “a Ponzi scheme” (Lila Rose, Live Action). Thanks, Supreme Court, including the dissenters, who show no animosity to the goals of this Act.

    Why should my ability to get sick or injured be attached to the type of job I have?

  19. bahrfeldt says

    Rand Paul has declared that the Supreme Court cannot determine constitutionality, at least when he disagrees with the decision.
    Earlier, some nameless tea-partyish Arizona governor had declared that SCOTUS, by allowing a single aspect of her state’s anti-immigrant law, had “proven” that the entire law was perfectly constitutional.
    Next, perhaps the Donald will demand Justice Roberts’ long form birth certificate.

  20. says

    “Or how about just ‘paying any kind of tax is against my religion*’ – so no one pays the hated taxes. That’ll work out fine, just look at Greece – oh wait!
    :) Dingo
    ——
    * My kingdom is not of this world…”

    Granted, but your DPW, emergency services, public health and lotsaotherstuff is Non-celestially based.

  21. TxSkeptic says

    Robert Reich predicted yesterday that Roberts would vote for ‘Obamacare’ in order to save the integrity of the court in light of historically low approval and confidence in SCOTUS.

    Maybe partially, but I think he did it to save the Republicans from themselves. If he really wanted to save the courts reputation he would have issued a mea culpa on Citizens United by voting to uphold Montana’s campaign finance law this week. By preserving the mandate, and the rest of the Affordable Care Act, he cuts of a very strong and dangerous response from the progressive caucus. If the act had been overturned, Democrats, led by the progressives, would be launching a full bore effort to get public option/single payer/medicare for all implemented. In the current house this would be near impossible, but a strong offense could certainly turn the tide of the upcoming elections enough to flip the house back, and strengthen the senate democrats enough to move this and many other progressive ideas forward.

    I actually would have preferred to see Citizens United turned back by the Montana case, and the ACA to have been defeated to set up a strong fight on the issue as stated above.

    I don’t think Roberts saved the court’s integrity, I think he saved the GOP’s ass.

  22. dingojack says

    Demmo –
    But, but, but all those services are in someone else’s kingdom why should I pay for them? Atheists wouldn’t pay to maintain heaven, would they?
    The Germans wouldn’t pay to fix up Greece – hang on a sec – oh poop!
    :) Dingo

  23. oranje says

    TxSkeptic: You raise an interesting question about the integrity of the Court. There’s really only one member I completely distrust for political reasons (I’ll give you one hint: silence), and many of them do seem to vote roughly along ideological lines. But I’ve never read their rulings as being as much political as deeply held legal beliefs. I guess I’d be surprised, then, to consider Roberts as doing something to help a political party. Possible, of course, but he reminds me a bit of Kennedy, where he can be a bit unpredictable from time to time.

  24. says

    In reading from his dissent, Justice Kennedy said “In our view, the entire Act before us is invalid in its entirety.”

    I can promise you, we are going to be hearing this phrase over, and over, and over. Far more frequently than we’ll be hearing anything from the majority decision. And the people who repeat this as evidence of the complete evilness of Obamacare will not bother to mention that it’s from the dissent and makes no difference.

  25. Michael Heath says

    oranje writes:

    There’s really only one member I completely distrust for political reasons (I’ll give you one hint: silence), and many of them do seem to vote roughly along ideological lines. But I’ve never read their rulings as being as much political as deeply held legal beliefs.

    It’s possible to make an argument that Clarence Thomas’ votes and opinions are based on “deeply held legal beliefs”. I don’t buy it but an argument exists. Anyone making that claim for John Roberts, Sam Alito and Antonin Scalia simply aren’t reading their opinions. Those three justices’ politics are transparent, especially Justice Scalia’s. Transparent motivation to the point he demonstrates no coherent jurisprudence, just talking points convenient at the point they’re published which fall apart when considered in any broader context – like his past opinions.

  26. DaveL says

    In reading from his dissent, Justice Kennedy said “In our view, the entire Act before us is invalid in its entirety.”

    I can promise you, we are going to be hearing this phrase over, and over, and over. Far more frequently than we’ll be hearing anything from the majority decision.

    Actually, I asked about that phrase because to say the “entire Act is invalid in its entirety” would be redundant, and it would be an embarassment for such a construction to make it into a SC dissent. Thankfully, from a search of the text it appears that particular wording does not appear in the written dissent.

  27. oranje says

    Michael: Fair points all around, really. I don’t agree with Scalia, but I at least find him thoughtful in his statements. I can see the reasoning he is employing, even if I don’t agree with it. Honestly, I haven’t read much from Alito. I guess I’m giving Roberts the benefit of the doubt for now, as he doesn’t always do what we think he would do. I suppose my jury is still out on him. That’s not to deny his political slant, just as well all have one.

  28. sunsangnim says

    It’s taken almost 20 years for the Supreme Court to uphold the constitutionality of the 1993 Republican health plan. The Heritage Foundation’s idea of an individual mandate will finally go into place. One of governor Romney’s signature achievements in Massachusetts can now be extended to the rest of the country. Republicans must be thrilled at the news today, right? I mean, it’s a Republican plan, and a conservative justice upheld it. What else could they want?

  29. oranje says

    Reginald – It’s a fair point from Dionne, and I should not make it sound as though I support Scalia. His Federalist Society statements have made me uncomfortable in the past, though I would have to revisit them to be more specific. I can see in his rulings where he is coming from. Maybe that just means he’s a good rhetorician.

  30. busterggi says

    The best thing I’ve heard about this so far called Roberts an ‘unelected’ official. Of course he was elected – it was a unanimous vote of all the Repubs in the House and Senate that got him approved.

  31. oranje says

    Busterggi – Please tell me you’re joking… they went for a claim to democracy in an attempt to undercut the credibility of Roberts? Does every appointed official have less of a claim to authority, then?

    I shouldn’t be surprised. I probably shouldn’t try to be rational with some of these irrational people, either. I wish they would realize words have meanings and matter in how they’re used. “Marxist” “child” etc. I shouldn’t be surprised at all.

  32. slc1 says

    Well, I guess that Justice Roberts is going to get more then a taste of the kind of invective that Judge John Jones received after the Dover decision. I wonder how many death threats he has received since the decision was announced.

  33. says

    Thankfully, from a search of the text it appears that particular wording does not appear in the written dissent.

    Yeah, it appears to be from Kennedy’s spoken comments when the decision was released. But still, we’re going to be hearing it endlessly. Conservatives know that the ruling will cause a bump in support for Obamacare. Most people don’t know what’s in it, they’ve just been told that it’s freedom-destroying, unconstitutional, tyrannical, death empaneling, Medicare-destroying… etc. The imprimatur of SCOTUS will go a long way toward dispelling those beliefs. So conservatives are going to do their best hype up the dissent to the point of confusing people about which way the ruling actually went.

  34. abb3w says

    Technically, the individual mandate is still not a tax; if it were, the court would have to kick the ruling back a few years. It is, however, a valid exercise of the taxing power according to the SCOTUS.

    Or at least, that’s what the ruling summary seems to say. This is one of the most complex rulings that’s come out of the court in ages — four parts, several sub-parts on part III, a mix of assents/concurrences/dissents on the lot, and more than a little legal hairsplitting arcana.

  35. D. C. Sessions says

    TxSkeptic@27:

    I totally agree that Roberts was out to save the Republican Party. Citizens United was a brilliant strategic move that will take time to have full effect. In contrast, going with the minority today would have been an electoral disaster for the Republicans as the full weight of torching a century of Commerce Clause jurisprudence sank in.

    As for opportunities to do that bit of judicial arson, well, he has time. He’s young, Chief Justice until he dies, and with the help of Citizens United may get a few more right-wing Justices in the next eight years.

  36. oranje says

    abb3w: I could be reading it wrong, but I think they ruled that the refusal to comply with the individual mandate, and the financial penalty associated with it, constitutes a tax, and falls under what is allowed. Again, I might be mistaken, but I think the taxation element is not in requiring individuals to contract with health care providers, but in the penalty for not complying.

  37. thisisaturingtest says

    The phrase I think we’ll be hearing a lot of is Palin’s “He [Mr Obama] said it wasn’t a tax. Obama lies; freedom dies.” This is going to be the new meme- “OMG!!!!!11!!111!! New tax!!!” I guess I understand the Constitutional need to frame it as such, but I think that nuance will be lost on far-right trogs who think Grover Norquist is god. To me, a penalty for failure to comply with the individual mandate, pragmatically given to the IRS to collect, and applied only to those who fail to comply, is most emphatically not the same as a tax. A tax is the necessary price you pay for being a part of a functioning society, to support that society, and spread as evenly and fairly as possible across all of that society’s members; this is a penalty paid for refusing to support that society, and paid only by those who do so.

  38. says

    The phrase I think we’ll be hearing a lot of is Palin’s “He [Mr Obama] said it wasn’t a tax. Obama lies; freedom dies.” This is going to be the new meme- “OMG!!!!!11!!111!! New tax!!!”

    This is close, but the conservaborg’s new meme appears to be, “THIS IS THE LARGEST TAX INCREASE IN HISTORY OF AMERICA, LOL!” How they get the “largest tax increase in history” from something that applies to only 6% of the population is beyond me, but I predict that the media won’t bother pointing out that even if one regards the mandate as a tax, it still makes no sense. It will be, “According to the Republicans…” without any attempt at evaluating its truthfulness.

  39. Ben P says

    So all those rightwing blowhards proclaiming tihs is the end of the American republicand the dawn of a Marxist dictatorship are now going ro take up arms agaisnt the tyrant, right?

    I meanm if not that’d mean they’re all either liars or cowards.

    Absolutely. It reminds me of one of my favorite Jefferson quotes, or at least it’s a favorite quote on days when i feel very cynical. It comes from Jefferson’s 1787 letter to William Smith in the aftermath of Shay’s rebellion. It’s most commonly known for Jefferson’s statement that “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is its natural manure.” But the full quote is more interesting to me.

    The British ministry have so long hired their gazetteers to repeat and model into every form lies about our being in anarchy that the world has at length believed them, the English nation has believed them, the ministers themselves have come to believe them, & what is more wonderful, we have believed them ourselves.

    Yet where does this anarchy exist? Where did it ever exist, except in the single instance of Massachusetts? And can history produce an instance of rebellion so honourably conducted? I say nothing of it’s motives. They were founded in ignorance, not wickedness. God forbid we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, & always well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty.

    We have had 13 states independent 11 years. There has been one rebellion. That comes to one rebellion in a century & a half for each state. What country before ever existed a century & a half without a rebellion? & what country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon & pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.

  40. says

    Illinois Rep Robert Dold (R) was interviewed by local public radio shortly after the decision was announced. He said that nobody should get in the middle of the doctor-patient relationship and now there will be a panel of “unelected bureaucrats” getting in the middle and deciding if the procedure your doctor recommends will be paid for or not.

    He actually said that.

  41. d cwilson says

    Dr X:

    I’m sure he meant that nothing should get between a doctor and his male patients.

  42. thisisaturingtest says

    #48, Dr X-
    Hell, Romney said essentially the same thing, the same tired old talking-point:

    And perhaps most troubling of all, Obamacare puts the federal government between you and your doctor.

    When what really happens, of course, is that the federal government gets between the insurance company getting between you and your doctor.

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