Today is a day of disappointment and alarm for the United States of America.
The U.S. Supreme Court erred badly and dangerously on Thursday in narrowly upholding ObamaCare, the federal attempt to seize effective control of medical care. A majority of the states -- which are to be saddled with enormous costs related to ObamaCare -- had sued. But the court has brushed off their objections in a 5-4 ruling.
Chief Justice John Roberts surprisingly and unfortunately joined the court's four most liberal members -- Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor -- in upholding ObamaCare.
Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and even liberal Anthony Kennedy rightly dissented.
The justices who voted to keep ObamaCare fully intact did so despite Roberts' own acknowledgment that the law "is constitutional in part and unconstitutional in part."
He said the law's punishment of Americans who do not purchase government-approved medical plans -- the so-called "individual mandate" -- cannot be sustained under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, as the Obama administration argued. But, he added, "it is reasonable to construe what Congress has done as increasing taxes on those who have a certain amount of income, but choose to go without health insurance. Such legislation is within Congress's power to tax."
Sorry, but construing the law that way isn't reasonable at all, and Kennedy said so.
"The act is invalid in its entirety," he said from the bench. The Obama administration went to "great lengths to structure the mandate as a penalty, not a tax." Obama himself said in 2009 that the individual mandate was "absolutely not a tax increase."
More to the point, it is not within Congress' power in the first place to force Americans to purchase government-sanctioned medical insurance or be penalized. The Constitution makes no such provision either directly or by implication. It is a matter left, under the 10th Amendment, to the states and the people.
Nevertheless, the deeply unpopular law's mortal threat to the liberties upon which this country was founded now remains in place, with only minimal hope that Congress will be able to repeal it.
Repeal would require a Republican president as well as continued Republican control of the House of Representatives and -- most difficult to achieve -- a Republican super majority in the filibuster-happy Senate. That is not in prospect in the near future, and repeal will grow tougher as years pass and a sense of entitlement to the costly, unsustainable provisions of ObamaCare grows.
Constitutionally speaking, the individual mandate is the most offensive part of ObamaCare. But it is far from the only facet of the law that is a slap in the face to freedom-loving Americans.
• Sold under grossly false pretenses.
"No matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what," Obama claimed in 2009.
ABC News called him on that, noting that ObamaCare would drive many employers to drop medical insurance, requiring workers to join government-promoted plans. That in no way guarantees that they may keep their doctors or the parts of their employer-based coverage that they like. Obama belatedly admitted that when pressed. "When I say if you have your plan and you like it, ... or you have a doctor and you like your doctor, that you don't have to change plans, what I'm saying is the government is not going to make you change plans under health reform," he said.
That's a gigantic caveat. The government may not directly be forcing people off their private plans, but it is creating an atmosphere in which many companies will have a huge incentive to do just that. In fact, The Wall Street Journal reported in April on large employers that have been advised that they can save in some cases hundreds of millions of dollars per year if they dump their insurance plans, pay some fines and push workers into government-backed "insurance exchanges" under ObamaCare.
• Promoted with jarring arrogance.
"We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it away from the fog of the controversy," then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said prior to Democrats' passage of the bill. She apparently believed the American people could not be trusted with the facts about ObamaCare until it was the law of the land and its repeal became exceedingly difficult.
• Passed in disregard to constitutional limits on federal power.
"The federal government, yes, can do most anything in this country," U.S. Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., declared at a town hall meeting in late 2010 in response to a question about the then-recently enacted law. He was roundly booed.
• Broadly opposed by the public.
Of 97 surveys of likely voters by Rasmussen Reports from the time ObamaCare was enacted in early 2010 through early June of this year, only one found less than 50 percent support for repealing ObamaCare. Support for repeal has climbed as high as 63 percent, while opposition to repeal has been as low as 32 percent. Never has opposition to repeal been greater than 44 percent, and it is currently at a telling 39 percent.
Americans do not want this law.
But we are stuck with it anyway.