We now live in post-constitutional America. The rule of law has been replaced with arbitrary centralized government. The republic is dead. It has been strangled by President Obama and the Supreme Court. Upon its ruins, a socialist state is being erected. This is the real meaning of the court’s recent decision to uphold Obamacare.
The court majority, led by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., declared the president’s signature health law valid. It is a major victory for Mr. Obama. His health care overhaul now has the high court’s stamp of approval. If he wins in November, nothing can stop its implementation. He will have succeeded in his fundamental goal: creating a permanent European-style welfare state. The middle class will be wedded to massive health care subsidies. Businesses will drop millions of employees from employer-based coverage, tossing them into government exchanges. The public will be saddled with a multitrillion-dollar entitlement.
Most importantly, the court’s decision was revolutionary. The state can compel individuals to purchase any good, service or product - in this case, health insurance - against their will. The federal government can coerce citizens to engage in behavior it deems moral. Today, the imperative is buying health care; tomorrow, it will be eating broccoli, driving an electric car or not using toilet paper. Obamacare is soft tyranny. The individual mandate is a fundamental assault upon the pillars of our republic. Are people free to make decisions that profoundly affect them and their families, or can the government nationalize our bodies, especially by exercising ownership over our health care? In short, are we citizens or slaves?
Yet, instead of addressing (and overturning) the mandate, Chief Justice Roberts did something even more ominous - he rewrote the statute. Using legal wizardry, he claimed the mandate’s penalty is a tax and, therefore, protected under the Constitution. The ruling grants sweeping new federal powers through the taxing provision. It opens up a vast domain for liberals to assert almost unlimited regulatory jurisdiction over American life - so long as it can be construed as a “tax.” The decision is a stake aimed at the heart of our federalist system. It essentially nullifies state sovereignty, individual rights and the rule of law. It has rendered the Constitution a meaningless piece of paper, a mere obstacle easily overcome by Mr. Obama in his relentless drive to impose a socialist state.
The man of the hour is Chief Justice Roberts. I never trust anyone with a constant silly smirk on his face. And he has confirmed my dislike of unmanly mannerisms. Clearly, the administration succeeded in intimidating him. For months, Mr. Obama and his surrogates made it clear that should the conservative bloc strike down Obamacare, the Roberts court would be vilified by the left throughout the election campaign. The strategy worked: The chief justice was cowed. The result, however, is that the court’s institutional integrity has been badly damaged. Mr. Obama has eroded the Supreme Court’s independence, bending it to his will.
Contrary to myth, the president is not a traditional New Deal Democrat or a black Franklin D. Roosevelt who believes in public works programs and lavish social spending. Rather, Mr. Obama presides over the most lawless, radical administration in U.S. history. He wants to forge an economic order dominated by big government, big labor and big business. He has appointed countless policy “czars” possessing Cabinet-level powers without the consent of Congress. In essence, he took over General Motors and Chrysler and gave it to his union allies. He has granted amnesty to nearly 1 million illegal immigrants. He has successfully prevented states, such as Arizona, from defending their sovereign territory from foreign criminals. He has exerted executive privilege to shield a racist and corrupt Justice Department complicit in gun-smuggling to Mexican drug cartels. He has passed a law, the National Defense Authorization Act, that enables the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens simply because the government says it suspects them of being “terrorists.” He has authorized a “kill list” that empowers him to assassinate alleged terrorists anywhere around the world - even if it means causing collateral damage, such as the deaths of innocent bystanders. And now he has compelled the Supreme Court to blatantly violate the plain text of the Constitution in order to amass the greatest power grab in U.S. history - by levying the largest tax increase in U.S. history - under the guise of universal health care.
This is not old-style liberalism, but fascism. It is a distinctly American kind of fascism - one buttressed by Congress and the Supreme Court, not jack boots and the secret police. But the result is the same: the destruction of our constitutional republic. Mr. Obama is increasingly unconstrained by checks and balances.
“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious,” said the Roman statesman Cicero. “But it cannot survive treason from within.”
Throughout his presidency, Mr. Obama has betrayed the American people, the rule of law and the Constitution itself. Obamacare is more unpopular today than when it was first passed. It is the means by which he is centralizing arbitrary power to expand government control over American society. Courts cannot be counted upon to defend our liberties. It is up to the voters in November. The choice is simple and stark: Defeat Mr. Obama and maybe Obamacare will be repealed or re-elect him and consign our republic to an early grave.
Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist at The Washington Times and president of the Edmund Burke Institute.