“Justices like John Roberts epitomize the vast difference between judicial review and judicial supremacy/tyranny. In the ObamaCare ruling, he has dumped the health care issue right back into the laps of the American people and their elected representatives. That is exactly where it belongs.”
“This ruling should not be seen as a defeat for the American people or as an imposition of tyranny, as some are shouting. It should be regarded as, hopefully, the beginning of a new era in American jurisprudence, a time when judicial review comes to be applied prudently, sparingly — and rarely.”
Paul Jacobson describes his take on John Roberts v. ObamaCare: An Apologia. His take is that the restraint to overturn a law provides a marker for the journey away from a judicial oligarchy. The key idea is that the court minimized meddling in the actions of the other branches of government. With PPACA, the court upheld rights of states against undue federal government pressure and clarified the nature of the debate about just what the ‘individual mandate’ really was.
In both of the major issues, a matter of proportionality was considered. For the states in regard to Medicaid, it was about just how much monetary support was involved in pushing states to go along with the federal efforts. With the individual mandate issue, the matter rested on a comparison between the cost of health insurance versus the ‘tax’ to be imposed if one did not purchase any.
The nature of the debate changed, not the law. That means that the political arguing may be more honest. The PPACA was pushed through Congress with significant confusion about exactly how it was to be funded, both in selling the act and in procedural mechanisms used to get it through. That confusion is now laid bare and those who depended upon that confusion to support their views can now be held accountable for their dishonesty.
Those who wanted the court to throw out the health care act did get their views examined and even supported. Those who still want the act declared unconstitutional are now forced to resort to defining the appropriate limits to the taxation power of Congress. That debate is not really settled as it involves whether the Constitution’s assertion of ‘general welfare’ includes only enumerated powers or not. That debate got a good start in the Federalist Papers with Madison and Hamilton on either side of it (wikipedia)
Fundamentally, the issue is about the vote of the people. The disappointment is that a small group of judges did not overrule law established by the people’s elected representatives. The question here is whether this shoveling of responsibility from an oligarchy to the people will also apply to such issues as California’s proposition 8 state constitutional amendmendment and other such topics,