- - Monday, March 24, 2014

In declaring Obamacare a tax in 2012, Chief Justice John Roberts, usually the careful lawyer, missed the point of the Democratic health care takeover. The goal of the administration’s grand scheme was never primarily about raising money with taxes. Whatever President Obama doesn’t collect in taxes, he borrows.

The health care law aims at the more profound objective of forcing Americans to act like Democrats. The high court will hear arguments Tuesday about whether this is appropriate.

Lawyers rarely speak plainly, preferring to convey meaning through a Latin phrase or a dusty precedent. Clarity is usually heard on the courtroom steps, where noisy activists plan a demonstration of exactly what Obamacare is really about.

The abortionists at Planned Parenthood and NARAL will bring in a crowd to shout at the justices about forcing the craft store chain Hobby Lobby and kitchen-cabinet maker Connestoga Wood Specialties to pay for abortions and contraception through their insurance plans, which these family-owned, Christian businesses say is contrary to their faith.

Sen. Al Franken leads the “Not my boss’s business” advertising campaign on behalf of the special-interest groups that will benefit from the extra funding. “A woman’s boss should never be able to make health care decisions for her,” he says, demonstrating a comedian’s understanding of the Constitution, “and that includes access to contraception.”

Access to contraception isn’t the issue. The Supreme Court settled that almost 50 years ago in Griswold v. Connecticut, discovering a constitutional right to such things in “penumbras, formed by emanations.” This was a landmark ruling, but the justices in 1965 couldn’t find either penumbra or emanation for some people to force others to pay for abortions and contraception against their will.

Obamacare was designed to push that line to the limit. The White House explains in a new page on the official website, using animated images of cats and other animals to advertise the benefit of Healthcare.gov to the Internet generation. One image features a duck with the caption, “I’m so excited,” and highlights how: “Birth control is free. Get covered at Healthcare.gov, and you’ll pay nothing out of pocket for your birth control.”

Mr. Obama reaches into the pockets of others to pay for those “free” benefits. The ability to force others to use their money to fund his priorities gives this president an unprecedented power to reshape society in his image. Mr. Obama not only makes decisions about health care, he decides matters of faith, too.

It’s up to the Supreme Court to say that the administration has gone too far. We hope that Chief Justice Roberts will rediscover the bold print in the Constitution and resist the urge to be nice and intervene to rescue Obamacare a second time.