The recent Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act and the subsequent discussion of factions of the court cause me pause. What happened to impartial jurists who rule on a law’s constitutionality based on the US Constitution? Isn’t the reason that justices serve for life, unless they retire or are impeached, to protect the court from political decisions?
According to CBS News, those inside the court claim that Chief Justice Roberts, unlike other conservative justices, “pays attention to media coverage…he is also sensitive to how the Court is perceived by the public.” Though we may never know what influenced his decision, it appears that Roberts may have bowed to outside political forces from the media to protect the reputation of his court. If this is indeed the reason he changed his original view, what does this have to do with the Constitution?
We have moved so far from the original intent of the court with liberal and conservative wings that it is no longer trusted by many Americans to do what is was instituted to do. The latest Rasmussen Reports shows that a majority of Americans believe “the high court is too liberal and that court justices pursue their own agendas rather than acting impartially.”
One of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, Charles Carroll of Carrollton, spoke to the situation that we now find ourselves in:
Changes in the constitution ought not be lightly made; but when corruption has long infected the legislative, and executive powers: when these pervert the liberties of the people; if THEY tamely submit to such misgovernment, we may fairly conclude, the bulk of that people to be ripe for slavery.
Chief Justice Roberts rightly stated that the commerce clause has been wrongly used to justify the overreach of the federal government. He was correct that there are consequences to elections. But, he rewrote the law to arrive at a convoluted justification for his decision. Furthermore, in so doing, he instituted a precedent that allows the federal government to tax any behavior it deems unacceptable, a giant step toward totalitarianism.
We must pay close attention to the people we choose to represent us. As we have seen many times, we cannot always believe the words of candidates, or their opponents for that matter. Instead, we must look carefully at their records. We cannot allow others to make these choices for us, because at this time in history we are “ripe for slavery.” We must not shirk our responsibilities as citizens. We must not “tamely submit to misgovernment.”