Andrew Napolitano: John Roberts now rivals John Marshall in twisting Constitution
If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street,
If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat.
If you get too cold, I’ll tax the heat,
If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet.
– The Beatles in “The Taxman”
Perhaps Chief Justice Roberts really means what he wrote – that congressional power to tax is without constitutional limit – and his opinion is a faithful reflection of that view, without a political or legal or intra-court agenda. But that view finds no support in the Constitution or our history. It even contradicts the most famous of Marshall’s big government aphorisms: The power to tax is the power to destroy.
The reasoning underlying the 5-to-4 majority opinion is the court’s unprecedented pronouncement that Congress’ power to tax is unlimited.
The logic in the majority opinion is the jurisprudential equivalent of passing a camel through the eye of a needle. The logic is so tortured, unexpected and unprecedented that even the law’s most fervent supporters did not make or anticipate the court’s argument in its support. Under the Constitution, a tax must originate in the House (which this law did not), and it must be applied for doing something (like earning income or purchasing tobacco or fuel), not for doing nothing. In all the history of the court, it never has held that a penalty imposed for violating a federal law was really a tax. And it never has converted linguistically the congressional finding of penalty into the judicial declaration of tax, absent finding subterfuge on the part of congressional draftsmanship.
I wonder whether the chief justice realizes what he and the progressive wing of the court have done to our freedom. If the feds can tax us for not doing as they have commanded, and if that which is commanded need not be grounded in the Constitution, then there is no constitutional limit to their power, and the ruling that the power to regulate commerce does not encompass the power to compel commerce is mere sophistry.
Even The Beatles understood this. http://patriotpost.us/
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“Mere” sophistry? More like fantastical, outrageous, juvenile, perverse sophistry! Sophistry in its most powerful usage in the history of western civilization. By its logic the government can tell us when to go to bed and when to rise. It can tax us for drinking wine and tax us for not drinking wine, since a little wine is good for most people. That one third of the country that supports anything socialistic in nature (since it usually means a personal benefit for them) are like the Loyalists of the American revolution who didn’t want their chains whacked off, -they were comfortable and contented as the serfs of the mother country. So today’s progressives are a modern mirror image of their ideological forefathers. They, like them, are traitors to their own country by being traitors to its foundational charter. They are no more our brethren than the loyalists were the brethren of the rebel patriots. They worship a strange god, a god of dependency and endless largess, a god with plenty of teats at which they can suckle. Instead of their lord and master being King George, it’s Big Government, but there is little difference between the two as far as the relationship goes since the subjects, serfs, and servants of both retain(ed) no sense of independence, individualism and unalienable rights. ARN
So far everyone is missing the second super travesty of the Roberts “opinion”, which is the fact that he tossed the constitutional amendment process into the toilet along with the document that contains it, namely the Constitution. By his treasonous ignoring of the only process by which fundamental change can be constitutionally wrought, he has taken all ultimate authority out of the hands of The People and handed it over to a simple Congressional majority. By that opinion, Congress could have given the right to vote to women, could have instituted Prohibition, given the right to vote to 18 yr. olds, or abolished slavery. Consider the possibility that results from the imposition of such a massive, sweeping, fundamental change as the health care bill will create without a constitutional amendment. With Supreme Court acquiescence instead of rejection, it can go into effect, and after many years be broadly and deeply established and yet a future Congress, by a simple majority vote, could chop it down at the root by repeal the whole thing. What level of stupidity has our Congress and courts descended to when that is exactly where our law making “system” is now couched? Among all of the traitors in Washington, I’ll bet that not one of them will speak up in defense of the only means given by the Constitution for effecting fundamental change and preventing chaos and division. And while I appreciate judge Napolitano’s desperately needed commentary, he too failed to defend the Constitution to the fullest extent and in the vitally important area that everyone is ignoring. It’s like everyone is blind in one eye. ARN
While I greatly appreciate your patriotic and insightful perspective, you didn’t at the end couch the present situation accurately. Instead of “building” something, what we need to do is win the most subtle war in our nation’s history, a war in which brother socialist is against brother patriot, brother liberal is against brother conservative, Constitution defenders are against Constitution traitors, and the outcome won’t simply determine whether or not we have a more idealistic future. It will determine if we have a future at all, at least one we could recognize from today’s perspective. The current struggle is more serious than mere idealism, it’s about survival. The cliff is rapidly approaching as we race toward it at full speed. Will enough of our fellow citizens and their representatives see what’s ahead and change course in time? Or will we race on through the night like the Titanic, and suffer her same fate? AN
Honor is dead in American government because no one seems to have a clue as to what it is anymore. An oath is something sacred, sworn on all that is sacred, namely the Holy Bible -the Holy Word of the Almighty Judge of the living and the dead. Violation of an oath was an act that was not only a betrayal to those to whom the oath was sworn, but to He who one invoked as the judge of one’s eternal destiny, being one who does not forget if some one breaks his sacred oath. The “oath of office” really is not that, instead it is the “Oath of Allegiance” to the Constitution and its supremacy in carrying out the duties of the office of President, or Congressman, or judge, or military officer or cabinet officer. They all swear to support and defend the Constitution, not their idea of what’s best overall, or what destiny, or philosophy, or religion, or politics calls them to support. They take an oath to set their feelings and opinions aside and follow the Constitution regardless of whether or not it seems to provide the best solution. We thought there were 4.5 such men sitting on the Supreme Court, but now it appears figure may be anywhere between 3 and 5. No one can tell anymore because of Roberts’ abandonment of all principle, -that is, all constitutional principle. Now no one can possibly predict where his wandering mind will settle on any issue. AR Nash
Ed Watts in San Jacinto, CA
Thursday, July 5, 2012 at 2:23 PM
The “general welfare” clause of The Constitution tells us that Congress should “…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.” If the “common defense…of the United States” involves a military organization which protects the country as a whole — but does not, necessarily, protect any one individual — should the “general Welfare” not be assumed to be similar? Where did/do the courts get the idea that Congress should provide for anyone’s individual welfare if Congress is not obligated to provide for anyone’s individual defense? If The Founders had meant for individuals’ welfare to be provided for, they would have used the words “the people” instead of “the United States”, just like they did elsewhere in The Constitution.
The intent of the “general Welfare” clause was that Congress should avoid debt and act in the interest of the nation, NOT individual Americans.
It should be interesting. I don’t know if Mitt will win in a landslide. There is no way he can win California, New York, Illinois, or New England. Instead, Mitt will have to win all of the states McCain won plus pick-up Indiana, North Carolina, Florida, Virginia, Missouri, Iowa, and Colorado. He could also pick up upsets in Arkansas, Wisconsin, and perhaps New Mexico or Oregon. But, it will not be a landslide.