Of course I haven’t spoken to James Madison about the Supreme Court’s ruling on Obamacare. I am not a psychic and don’t own a magic eight-ball. However, James Madison did speak to us in prophetic terms and warned us about this day.
As you no doubt are aware, Chief Justice John Roberts used tortured logic and precedent to rule in favor of Obamacare but what you may not know is specifically how he justified his decision, and I’m not talking about a penalty versus a tax. And what Chief Justice Roberts did is exactly about which James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, warned.
Here is the first relevant James Madison quote:
The rights of persons, and the rights of property, are the objects, for the protection of which Government was instituted.
That quote is relevant to Obamacare because it sets the context for government in America.
Just as the Declaration of Independence says, and Madison supports above, “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. . .” It is just that simple; the role of government in America is not to “take care of people,” define and ensure fairness or even to level the playing field but to secure our unalienable rights – period.
Here is our next quote from Mr. Madison:
I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.
What did James Madison mean and how can it possibly apply to the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding Obamacare last Thursday?
In writing the majority opinion upholding Obamacare, Chief Justice Roberts relied heavily on precedent using the judicial philosophy of stare decisis, Latin for “to stand by that which is decided.”
That is crucial to understand because it is exactly how “gradual and silent encroachments by those in power” occurs. The only thing you need for stare decisis to be used as a weapon of tyranny by those in power is that first supreme court ruling on which to base subsequent rulings and then you have the snowball of usurpations rolling down the mountainside.
This next Madison quote may be the most important and prophetic because it pretty much directly applies to what Chief Justice Roberts did and said and outlines a general constitutional philosophy that Roberts violated.
“If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every State, county and parish and pay them out of their public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision of the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads; in short, every thing, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress…. Were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for, it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited Government established by the people of America.”
So, how did Chief Justice John Roberts violate that philosophy laid out by the Father of our Constitution? Well, here is what the esteemed Chief Justice wrote:
Congress may also “lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Im¬posts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States.” U. S. Const., Art. I, §8, cl. 1. Put simply, Congress may tax and spend. This grant gives the Federal Government considerable influence even in areas where it cannot directly regulate. (emphasis added) The Federal Government may enact a tax on an activity that it cannot authorize, forbid, or otherwise control. See, e.g., License Tax Cases, 5 Wall. 462, 471 (1867). And in exercising its spending power, Congress may offer funds to the States, and may condition those offers on compliance with specified conditions. See, e.g., College Savings Bank v. Florida Prepaid Postsecond¬ary Ed. Expense Bd., 527 U. S. 666, 686 (1999). These offers may well induce the States to adopt policies that the Federal Government itself could not impose. See, e.g., South Dakota v. Dole, 483 U. S. 203, 205–206 (1987) (con¬ditioning federal highway funds on States raising their drinking age to 21).
The Chief Justice violated the philosophy explained by James Madison – “If Congress can employ money indefinitely. . . Were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for, it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited Government established by the people of America.”
To me, it is the philosophy that matters and not the fact James Madison was addressing the general welfare clause. Madison explicitly says in that quote that our federal government cannot spend money on whatever it pleases simply because it has a taxing power, as Chief Justice Roberts seemed to maintain.
And please notice how the Chief Justice’s opinion is a “gradual and silent encroachment” in that he quotes precedent – stare decisis – rather than the Constitution or a limiting factor explained by one of our Founding Fathers. He builds upon previous wrongs in order to commit a new wrong and quite literally “transmutes the very nature of the limited government established by the People of America.”
Thank God some supreme court had the intestinal fortitude, unlike John Roberts, to strike down Jim Crow segregation laws instead of adhering to stare decisis.
All of this begs the question that we typically see from liberals and progressives; is the Constitution a living document that changes over time? That answer is unequivocally, “oh, hell no!” James Madison also cleared that up for us:
Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government.
In speaking about divided government and checks and balances, James Madison said:
[In government] the constant aim is to divide and arrange the several offices in such a manner as that each may be a check on the other–that the private interest of every individual may be a sentinel over the public rights.
But, how does John Roberts feel about the constitutional separation of powers and our system of checks and balances as he wrote in his Obamacare ruling?
Our permissive reading of these powers is explained in part by a general reticence to invalidate the acts of the Nation’s elected leaders. “Proper respect for a co-ordinate branch of the government” requires that we strike down an Act of Congress only if “the lack of constitutional authority to pass [the] act in question is clearly demon¬strated.” United States v. Harris, 106 U. S. 629, 635 (1883).Members of this Court are vested with the authority to interpret the law; we possess neither the expertise nor the prerogative to make policy judgments. Those decisions are entrusted to our Nation’s elected leaders, who can be thrown out of office if the people disagree with them. It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.
And it is well established that if a statute has two possible meanings, one of which violates the Constitution, courts should adopt the meaning that does not do so. Justice Story said that 180 years ago: “No court ought, unless the terms of an act rendered it una¬voidable, to give a construction to it which should involve a violation, however unintentional, of the constitution.” Parsons v. Bedford, 3 Pet. 433, 448–449 (1830).
I see the words of Chief Justice Roberts as being very dangerous, indeed. It appears that there is a long standing history of the Supreme Court abrogating its constitutional role as a check and balance against tyranny and shows all deference to Congress versus to the Constitution – Liberty and the people.
In my humble opinion anytime there is a law that can be rendered unconstitutional under one interpretation then that law has very dangerous meaning and potential and the gavel must necessarily fall on the side of individual liberty and freedom and against government power.
The Supreme Court ruling is the quintessential example of the silent and gradual encroachment on Liberty by those in power through the progressive weapon of stare decisis and the dangerous separation of constitutional text from historical background. Consequently, government in America is illegitimate.