The “Taxing Clause”, Was Chief Justice Roberts Right?

Comments Off

I hope Steve is the one right on this one, but on this subject of Obamacare being upheld, I and many are still upset at what Roberts did. Yesterday we learned  Roberts was originally going to strike it down with the other four judges and then later changed his mind. My guess is the pressure or threats got to him. Anyway here is an article by my friend Publius Huldah, a retired Constitutional Lawyer from middle Tennessee, that looks at this decision based on what the founding fathers said.

The ‘Taxing Clause’, Five Lawless Judges, and ObamaCare

Our federal Constitution is one of enumerated powers only.  This means that WE THE PEOPLE, who ordained and established the Constitution, listed therein every power We delegated to the federal government. If We didn’t list a power, the federal government doesn’t have it.1

Furthermore, we delegated only a very few powers to the federal government.

Accordingly, Congress has strictly limited legislative powers over the Country at large. These powers are listed primarily at Art. I, §8, clauses 3-16, and are restricted to war, international commerce & relations; and domestically, the creation of a uniform commercial system: weights & measures, patents & copyrights, a monetary system based on gold & silver, bankruptcy laws, mail delivery & roads. Several Amendments delegate to Congress some power over civil rights.

These enumerated powers are the only areas where the federal government has lawful authority over The States and The People in The States.  In all other matters [except those listed at Art. I, §10] the States and The People retain supremacy, independence, and sovereignty. Go here for a complete list of all of Congress’ Enumerated Powers.

Obamacare is altogether unconstitutional because it is outside the scope of the legislative powers We granted to Congress. Nothing in Our Constitution authorizes the federal government to control our medical care (or to exercise the other powers in the Act). 

I challenge those five (5) lawless judges on the supreme Court [Roberts, Kagan, Sotomayor, Ginsberg, & Breyer], all other totalitarians, mushy liberals, gullible fools, and parasitic humans who support Obamacare, to point to that clause of The Constitution where We delegated to the federal government power to control our medical care.

Article I, §8, clauses 1-16: What it Really Means.

Those five (5) lawless judges on the supreme Court looked at Art. I, §8, cl.1, and found power in Congress and the Executive Branch to take over our medical care – even to decide whether we will receive medical treatment or be denied medical treatment.2

And how did The Lawless Five do this?  I’ll show you. But first, let’s see what the Constitution really says.  Article I, §8, clauses 1 & 2 read:

Clause 1: “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common defense and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;” [boldface added]

Clause 2: “To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;”

Immediately after Clauses 1 & 2 follows the list of enumerated powers WE delegated to Congress:

  • Clause 3: To regulate “commerce” [For the Truth about the “commerce clause”, go here];
  • Clause 4: To establish uniform laws on Naturalization and on Bankruptcies;
  • Clause 5: To coin money & regulate its value, and fix the standard of weights & measures;
  • Clause 6: To punish counterfeiting;
  • Clause 7: To establish Post Offices and post Roads;
  • Clause 8: To issue Patents and Copyrights;
  • Clause 9: To set up federal courts “inferior” to the supreme Court [one may well ask how any court can be “inferior” to the supreme Court];
  • Clause 10: To punish Piracies & Felonies on the high seas and offenses against the Law of Nations;
  • Clause 11: To declare War, grant Letters of Marque & Reprisal, and make rules for Captures;
  • Clause 12: To raise and support Armies;
  • Clause 13: To provide and maintain a Navy;
  • Clause 14: To make Rules for the land and naval Forces;
  • Clause 15: To call forth the Militia; and
  • Clause 16: To provide for organizing, arming, disciplining the Militia.

Add to this short list of enumerated powers; the “housekeeping powers” itemized in the paper linked here; the salaries authorized by Art. I, §6, cl. 1; Art. II, §1, next to last clause; Art. III, §1, cl. 1, and others on the civil list; together with the Amendments addressing civil rights; and you have the sole purposes for which Congress is authorized to levy and collect taxes, borrow money, and spend money for the Country at Large.

And this is precisely what James Madison, Father of Our Constitution, says in Federalist Paper No. 41 (last 4 paras).  Madison addresses the objection that:

“…the power ‘to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States,’ amounts to an unlimited commission to exercise every power which may be alleged to be necessary for the common defense or general welfare.” (4th para from end).

Madison says one would be grasping at straws to stoop to such a silly “misconstruction”:

“Had no other enumeration or definition of the powers of the Congress been found in the Constitution, than the general expressions just cited, the authors of the objection might have had some color for it; though it would have been difficult to find a reason for so awkward a form of describing an authority to legislate in all possible cases. A power to destroy the freedom of the press, the trial by jury, or even to regulate the course of descents, or the forms of conveyances, must be very singularly expressed by the terms ‘to raise money for the general welfare’.” (3rd para from end)

“But what color can the objection have, when a specification of the objects alluded to by these general terms immediately follows, and is not even separated by a longer pause than a semicolon? If the different parts of the same instrument ought to be so expounded, as to give meaning to every part which will bear it, shall one part of the same sentence be excluded altogether from a share in the meaning; and shall the more doubtful and indefinite terms be retained in their full extent, and the clear and precise expressions be denied any signification whatsoever? … Nothing is more natural nor common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify it by a recital of particulars. But the idea of an enumeration of particulars which neither explain nor qualify the general meaning … is an absurdity…” (2nd para from end)

In the final paragraph, Madison says Art. I, §1, cl. 1 does not vest in Congress a power to legislate in all cases whatsoever: Clause 1 is merely a “general expression”, the meaning of which is “ascertained and limited” by the clauses which immediately follow it.

To put Madison in modern English: Clauses 1 & 2 grant to Congress the power to raise money; clauses 3-16 enumerate the objects on which Congress may appropriate the money so raised, thus limiting clauses 1 & 2.

THAT is the Constitution We ratified.

What the Lawless Five Assert it Means:

See where it says in Clause 1, “To lay and collect Taxes”?  The Lawless Five assert that this phrase authorizes Congress to lay & collect taxes for any purposes whatsoever.

They IGNORED the “specification of the objects [Clauses 3-16] alluded to by these general terms” [Clauses 1 & 2] – the “enumeration of particulars” which “explain and qualify” “the general phrase”.  

In effect, they repealed Clauses 3-16.  In a nutshell, the Lawless Five asserted that Congress and the President may do whatever they want to us.  Just call it a “tax”.

What can WE Do?

First, we must disabuse ourselves of the monstrous lie that the federal government created by the Constitution is the exclusive and final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to it; and that the opinion of five judges, not the Constitution, is the sole measure of its powers. 3 This is an evil ideology antithetical to our Founding Documents and Principles. Once you understand that, our remedies are readily apparent:

1. Impeach Federal Judges who violate their Oaths of Office. The supreme Court is merely a creature of the Constitution and is completely subject to its terms; and when judges on that and lower federal courts – who serve during “good Behaviour” only (Art. III, §1, cl. 1) – usurp power, they must be removed from office. Alexander Hamilton writes in Federalist No. 81 (8th para) of:

“… the important constitutional check which the power of instituting impeachments in … [the House] … and of determining … them in the … [Senate] … give[s] to … [Congress] … upon the members of the judicial department. This is alone a complete security. There never can be danger that the judges, by a series of deliberate usurpations on the authority of the legislature, would hazard the united resentment of the body intrusted with it, while this body was possessed of the means of punishing their presumption, by degrading them from their stations…” 4

We must elect Representatives and Senators who will support our Constitution by impeaching & removing usurping federal judges.  We must elect people who will rid of us The Lawless Five.

2. Elect Representatives and Senators who will also repeal Obamacare and dismantle everything which has been implemented so far.

3.  Elect Romney.  He has promised he will “repeal” obamacare.  His Oath of Office – which is “to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution” – requires him to refuse to implement Obamacare. By Executive Order, he must refuse to implement it, he must reverse all implementation in effect when he takes office, and he must rescind the unconstitutional rules [see, e.g., Art. I, §1] made by the baby-killing totalitarians who presently infect the Department of Health & Human Services.

4.  States must nullify ObamacareHere are model Nullification Resolutions for State Legislatures. These can be easily amended to specifically address Obamacare and the HHS rules. State officials, legislators, and judges all take The Oath to support the federal Constitution (Art. VI, cl. 3); and that Oath requires them to nullify Obamacare.

5. We the People must stop deceiving ourselves about the motives of people such as Obama and the Lawless Five. They are not ‘basically decent people who just have different opinions”. They are Dolores Umbridges who are determined to reduce us to abject slavery. PH.

Endnotes:

1 Contrary to the misconstructions long and unlawfully applied by the federal government, the federal Constitution is one of enumerated powers only.  E.g.:

“The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.  The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected.  The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people.”  (Federalist No. 45 , 9th para)

“…the proposed government cannot be deemed a national one; since its jurisdiction extends to certain enumerated objects only, and leaves to the several States a residuary and inviolable sovereignty over all other objects….” (Federalist No. 39, 3rd para from end)

“…the general [federal] government is not to be charged with the whole power of making and administering laws. Its jurisdiction is limited to certain enumerated objects...” (Federalist No. 14, 8th para)

2 There is much more in Obamacare than transferring to the Executive Branch power to decide whether we will receive or be denied medical care. It is a parade of horribles worthy of Stalin, Hitler, and Anita Dunn’s hero, Mao.  It transfers total control of our lives to the Executive Branch.

3 Our beloved Thomas Jefferson writes in para 1 of the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798:

“1. Resolved, That the several States composing the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their General Government; but that, by a compact under the style and title of a Constitution for the United States, and of amendments thereto, they constituted a General Government for special purposes,–delegated to that government certain definite powers, reserving, each State to itself, the residuary mass of right to their own self-government; and that whensoever the General Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force: that to this compact each State acceded as a State, and is an integral party, its co-States forming, as to itself, the other party: that the government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself; since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers; but that, as in all other cases of compact among powers having no common judge, each party has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of infractions as of the mode and measure of redress.” [boldface mine]

4 With Obamacare, the Lawless Five colluded with Congress & the Executive Branch to subvert Our Constitution. Our Framers warned us of such connivances between the branches of the federal government:

Alexander Hamilton tells us that Congress can’t successfully usurp powers unless The People go along with it!  In Federalist No.16 (next to last para), he points out that because judges may be “embarked in a conspiracy with the legislature”, the People, who are “the natural guardians of the Constitution”, must be “enlightened enough to distinguish between a legal exercise and an illegal usurpation of authority.

James Madison says in Federalist No. 44 (last para before 2.):

“…the success of the usurpation [by Congress] will depend on the executive and judiciary departments, which are to expound and give effect to the legislative acts; …” [boldface added]

Hamilton and Madison are telling that We don’t have to go along with Obamacare just because Five totalitarians on the supreme Court want the Executive Branch to have total control over our lives. This is where we draw the line.  We must Resist this tyranny.

American Clarion

Chief Justice Did Us Good

Comments Off

I did an article right after the SCOTUS announcement on ObamaTaxCare about Chief Justice Roberts decision might be a good thing. Today, this article hit the American Thinker Blog. I don’t admit to being a legal scholar, but hey, while everyone was ranting and raving about just how bad the decision was (and still is), the movers and thinkers say this is an ace in the hole….

The Chief Justice Done Good

By Dov Fischer
Chief Justice John Roberts has handed a remarkable victory to American conservatives by threading the judicial needle with perfect precision. The initial disappointment collectively felt by Americans who had hoped for a Supreme Court ruling that would overturn Obamacare soon will be replaced, upon further reflection, by the excitement that will come with a fuller appreciation of what the Chief Justice has wrought.

First, almost completely unnoticed, the Chief Justice voted with his four conservative colleagues in drawing an unprecedented red line against Washington wielding the Constitution’s Commerce Clause in the future to justify federal intrusion into the personal lives of Americans. This decision will restrict American Presidents and future Congresses for a generation and more.

Until Thursday’s decision, for more than 70 years, virtually every leading Supreme Court decision on the reach of the Commerce Clause has sided with federal intrusion. Although there have been isolated exceptions — e.g., United States v. Lopez, 514 U.S. 549 (1995) (limiting federal regulation regarding carrying guns near schools) and United States v. Morrison, 529 U.S. 598 (2000) (limiting power of the federal government to expand rights of women to sue attackers) — the leading cases on the Commerce Clause, often relying on precedents like Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U.S. 111 (1942) (holding that Congress could prevent a person from growing wheat for his own personal consumption on his own private land), have held that the federal government can force Americans to do or not do, to buy or not buy, virtually anything if couched as an act to facilitate or regulate interstate commerce. Wickard “always has been regarded as the ne plus ultra of expansive Commerce Clause jurisprudence.” (Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito, JJ., dissenting, at 3.)

It was this very line of Wickard-consistent Supreme Court opinions that served as the basis for a long line of lower federal courts, both district courts and federal appeals courts, choosing to uphold ObamaCare as that bill was tested through the judiciary. However, with Chief Justice Roberts almost surreptitiously joining with Justices Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and Kennedy in ruling that ObamaCare is barred by the federal Commerce Clause, a new era has begun in Commerce Clause jurisprudence.
Every liberal citation to Wickard will be countered by a conservative citing to Chief Justice Roberts’s opinion: “If no enumerated power authorizes Congress to pass a certain law, that law may not be enacted, even if it would not violate any of the express prohibitions in the Bill of Rights or elsewhere in the Constitution. . . . The Court today holds that our Constitution protects us from federal regulation under the Commerce Clause so long as we abstain from the regulated activity. The Federal Government does not have the power to order people to buy health insurance. . . . The Federal Government does have the power to impose a tax on those without health insurance.” (National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, Slip op. at 3, 41-42, 44)

There is now a formal United States Supreme Court opinion on the books, overdue by nearly a century, holding that the federal government may not wield the Commerce Clause to impose on American citizens the obligation to buy health insurance or anything else we do not want. An American cannot be compelled by federal mandate to eat or even to buy a proverbial stalk of broccoli. As a kosher consumer, the federal government cannot wield that clause to impose on me an obligation to purchase non-kosher food supplements. The rules guiding lower-court wrestling matches over federal power to invade Americans’ private lives now have been reset remarkably by Chief Justice Roberts. Few today notice what he has done. Long after many of us are gone, this 5-4 opinion finally setting limits on the reach of the Commerce Clause will continue to affect American lives and protect private citizens from Washington’s intrusions.
It is understandable that most Americans, who are not law school graduates, do not think in these terms, nor do most pundits outside the legal community who interpret news. However, attorneys and certainly law professors get it. We know what happened on Thursday. It was subtle and below the radar, like a tsunami beginning in the middle of an ocean, still days away from the shore. Only the trained insiders know what that rumbling will cause in the future. This was a tsunami, finally giving us our first Supreme Court precedential holding in nearly a century that reins in the federal government’s unbridled abuse of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause. And the liberals, excited as they understandably are by the temporary survival of ObamaCare, do not even realize what has happened to a pillar of their enterprise. And that is fine.

Secondly, Chief Justice Roberts has punted the whole ninety yards, so to speak, with the expertise of a professional football kicker whose team has the ball on its own 8-yard-line, then punts ninety yards, pinning the other team on their own two-yard-line. Had Chief Justice Roberts sided completely with his four conservative colleagues, Obamacare now would be off the political table for the November elections. Obama would be campaigning and mobilizing his troops’ passions, arguing an urgent need to reconfigure the Court. Romney, by contrast, would be trying to mobilize passion for a lackluster campaign that is impelled legitimately by one crying urgency: jobs and the economy. However, Romney is not gifted at bringing people to their feet, not for applauding and possibly not for voting. He is competent, perhaps excellent, maybe even extraordinary — but his blandness does not generate passion.
Jobs and the economy are critical issues, but tricky ones to explain. The federal government effectively shades statistics by hiding the full destructive impact of Obama’s economic programs. People who cannot find work at the compensation level they need and for which they are qualified — an enormous population subset we call the “under-compensated” — nevertheless are counted as “employed” when they settle for jobs below their previous attained levels. Meanwhile, when others give up hope and stop looking for work altogether, resigning themselves to failure and long-term unemployment, they are deemed by statisticians to have removed themselves from the work force, so are not counted among the unemployed. We the more sophisticated observers of the political process understand these statistical anomalies. We understand that statistics declaring American unemployment at 8.2% really are closer to 12% and even 14% when we factor-in the plight of the underemployed and those who have given up hope.

Unlike the unemployment issue, where statistics are obfuscated, Obamacare is a signature campaign issue. It is clear, comprehensible, simple — and despised. It galvanized, even helped create, the Tea Party. Passionate opposition against the law led to a convulsive November 2010 election that resulted in fabulous Republican gains and the worst “shellacking” experienced by any political party in the modern era. Two years have passed since 2010, and ObamaCare was about to be removed as a campaign issue in November.
Instead, even as he cast a powerful vote to rein in the Commerce Clause as our Founding Fathers intended for it to be applied against federal intrusiveness, Chief Justice Roberts returned Obamacare front-and-center back into the November elections debate. Defining it for what it really is — a new, enormous federal tax on at least four million Americans (Slip op. at 37) — the Chief Justice has lobbed a fat hanging curveball for conservatives to clobber. The ObamaCare tax does not apply to those who presently are untaxed, and it will not apply to the more wealthy, who will be excused because they carry health insurance anyway. Rather, the President who promised no new taxes against the middle class conclusively has been “outed” by the Chief Justice as having imposed the biggest tax on middle-class Americans in a generation.
Third, the Chief Justice has shifted the spotlight back onto Congress, primarily focusing its glare on the Democrat-run U.S. Senate, only four months before the elections. Republicans rapidly will beat down ObamaCare in the House like a piñata at a children’s party. It is an easy target. It is excessive and intrusive. It is financially devastating, will cause employers to drop health coverage for their employees, and will force millions to lose their preferred doctors and instead to settle on government-supplied alternatives. Seniors will find that $500 million in coverage has been sliced out of their Medicare. Employers will continue resisting expanding their work forces and reviving the flagging labor market while the issue remains in flux, assuring stagnating unemployment numbers through November.
Fourth, the Chief Justice, while permitting the federal government to offer states more money to expand their Medicaid rolls beyond their fiscal capabilities, joined with his four conservative colleagues in banning Washington from penalizing states that turn down the federal inducements to march towards bankruptcy. As a result, the working poor will find that the federal government, while taxing them to buy new health coverage, has been left without a mechanism to compel others to pay for the ObamaCare state insurance exchanges. So the feds will have to pay for it in non-cooperating states that are more fiscally prudent. Only more taxes can pay for those costs.

So Congress has a massive new mess awaiting it, all as voters prepare to vote for a new Congress and for 33 United States Senate seats, 23 now held by Democrats and their two “independent” allies. House Republicans solidly will vote symbolically to overturn the legislative monstrosity, and they will find endangered House Democrats breaking ranks with their leadership to vote with them. Senate Democrats facing reelection will be caught in a vise. Harry Reid will be trying desperately to prevent a vote on ObamaCare repeal from reaching the Senate floor, even as national news coverage focuses on the two national parties’ conventions. Obama’s staff may be renting Greek or Roman columns, but the Republicans will be toppling the pillars of the failed Obama Presidency

This is going to be OK, even fun. Just wait and see. The Chief Justice done us good.

Dov Fischer, adjunct professor of law at Loyola Law School, is a columnist for several online magazines and is rabbi of Young Israel of Orange County. He blogs at rabbidov.com.

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 396 other followers