- The Washington Times - Monday, July 2, 2012

The legal “cognoscenti” among us have begun to transmute shock into a rationalization that confers strategic genius to blunder.

The logic runs that Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. is simply closing forevermore the egregious use of the Commerce Clause to this expansive liberal assault and insisting that Obamacare, with its individual mandate, is merely an extension of the taxing powers of the federal government. By extension and not-so-subtle instruction, he is forcing the legislative branch to do its duty and address this albatross for what he insists is simply the largest single tax increase in American history.

Never mind that the proponents denied this in the formation of the bill both by stealth and public statement. In the mind of Chief Justice Roberts, they were either mistaken or guilty of bad presentation.

Unfortunately, because decisions of the highest court in the land become the law, it is not simply this. For the precedent set is shattering and the good chief justice’s alleged sophistication is just that.

When contrasted with District Judge Roger Vinson’s erudite and clinical judgment that the individual mandate was simply an extension of federal power never contemplated by the Constitution and, lacking a severability clause, must be struck down in its entirety, we are awestruck at the breadth of analytical detachment of Chief Justice Robert’s opinion relative to this constitutional construction. Judge Vinson read the law, heard the arguments and responded to what it was: the single largest encroachment on our freedom ever, period. The hidden-tax drama was merely an extension of this dressed-up, enduring socialist dream. Ronald Reagan said more than 50 years ago, “One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine.” This is flatly what is intended by Obamacare, disguised as it is as doing a greater good.

The only silver lining to this decision is that the American people are faced with the ultimate test of their self-determination. In this, Chief Justice Roberts is right. Now it is for us to elect leaders who will insist on the repeal of this costly intrusion into our lives. If not, then we will deserve the outcome we get. In that case, it will not be a future remotely close to what the Founders conceived or what so many brave Americans fought and died to uphold. Read Edward Gibbon’s “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” for how the story ends.

ROBERT F. AGOSTINELLI

London