I haven’t read the opinion yet, but it is beyond imagination that the original intent of the commerce clause envisioned forcing people to buy things as the national government trounces all over the States. It appears that John Roberts agreed with the government that the mandate survives under the tax power, but is apparently lost on the sheer intrusion of the rest of the law.
I will have more later after I recover from the shock of these justices not being able to find their specs when it comes time to read the Constitution.
I read the ruling. Chief Justice Roberts wrote it; and in it, he states that while the government’s argument that the individual mandate is an exercise of the commerce clause cannot hold, it is the Court’s obligation of find some construction that it could be considered constitutional. He found that construction in the government’s power to tax.
In that regard, my opinion doesn’t really matter, but I would like to share with you some excerpts from Thomas Jefferson’s dissent from the formation of the Bank of the United States. He believed the established rule of construction to be that the entirety of the document must be considered when construing the powers delegated to the United States; otherwise the enumeration of powers would be meaningless. That means that all powers granted are within the context of the enumerated powers, or there is no purpose for them. A tax is not a tax unless it supports the carrying out of one of the powers, and the Chief Justice is wrong.
“I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground: That ” all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States or to the people.” [XIIth amendment.] To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition….
“To lay taxes to provide for the general welfare of the United States, that is to say, “to lay taxes for the purpose of providing for the general welfare.” For the laying of taxes is the power, and the general welfare the purpose for which the power is to be exercised. They are not to lay taxes ad libitum for any purpose they please; but only to pay the debts or provide for the welfare of the Union. In like manner, they are not to do anything they please to provide for the general welfare, but only to lay taxes for that purpose. To consider the latter phrase, not as describing the purpose of the first, but as giving a distinct and independent power to do any act they please, which might be for the good of the Union, would render all the preceding and subsequent enumerations of power completely useless.
“It would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and, as they would be the sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please.
“It is an established rule of construction where a phrase will bear either of two meanings, to give it that which will allow some meaning to the other parts of the instrument, and not that which would render all the others useless. Certainly no such universal power was meant to be given them. It was intended to lace them up straitly within the enumerated powers, and those without which, as means, these powers could not be carried into effect. It is known that the very power now proposed as a means was rejected as an end by the Convention which formed the Constitution. A proposition was made to them to authorize Congress to open canals, and an amendatory one to empower them to incorporate. But the whole was rejected, and one of the reasons for rejection urged in debate was, that then they would have a power to erect a bank, which would render the great cities, where there were prejudices and jealousies on the subject, adverse to the reception of the Constitution.”