The Supreme Court and the Creation of Culture (Obamacare): Justice Roberts Redefines Reality

We’re all still trying to digest what Chief Justice John Roberts just did in providing the crucial fifth vote to uphold Obamacare. I’m pretty sure he’s trying to digest it too.

I do not fault him for bending over backwards to try to find a legitimate reason to uphold Obamacare. Deference to the people’s representatives (even if the people don’t currently like our representatives much!) is part of the basic structure of the Constitution. But if we are to be a nation ruled by laws, not men, words have to have plain meanings. Communication must be possible.

Pres. Obama promised that this mandate was not a tax. In the law, it is described specifically as a mandate, a requirement. The money you have to pay if you decline to buy government-mandated insurance coverage is laid out in the legislation as a “penalty” for failing to do something the government is requiring you to do.

Robert’s decision to redefine the mandate as a tax also raises new questions, as Ilya Somin points out on Volokh.com: if this is a tax what kind of tax is it?  If it’s a direct tax on the states, it must be apportioned proportionate to the population of the states. “If it is not an income tax, excise tax, tariff, or impost, it’s not a tax authorized by the Constitution—even if it also isn’t a direct tax

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David Blankenhorn and the Battle Over Same-Sex Marriage

“We’ve been fighting about gay marriage for what, 15-20 years now.  Is there any evidence that fighting gay marriage is contributing to a greater appreciation among the broad society of the marital institution? Is there any evidence that the re-institutionalization of marriage is happening as a result of opposing gay marriage? And the best answer I can give to that is ‘no.’” – David Blankenhorn

With that quote Mark Oppenheimer, the Beliefs columnist of the New York Times, begins his transcript of a new documentary “David Blankenhorn and the Battle Over Same-Sex Marriage” that was released on Friday along with an op-ed by David Blankenhorn in the New York Times entitled “How My View on Gay Marriage Changed”  

Maybe you’ve never heard of David Blankenhorn.  But maybe for you, like me, he’s a very significant figure in the larger struggle over our fraying marriage culture.

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Maggie on NRO:David Blankenhorn Gives Up

My friend and mentor and one-time boss David Blankenhorn has just published a New York Times op-ed in which he gives up on opposing gay marriage. I haven’t yet read it carefully enough to respond, except to say that “the argument from despair” is the single most powerful argument gay-marriage advocates wield. I wish you well, old friend.

NRO