Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Fred Thompson talks some sense

Imagine how much better off the US and the world would be if Fred Thompson had been president the past 3 and 1/2 years.  In this piece, he hits all the right notes in discussing what Justice Roberts did and what it all means.  So many of the cheerleaders have gotten it wrong on both sides of the political divide:

 There may be some truth to all or part of this speculation. The problem is that none of these considerations are an appropriate basis for deciding a lawsuit. Cases are still supposed to be decided upon the law and the facts before the court. This may seem a mundane point in a discussion involving institutional and national salvation, but it’s true nevertheless.
 The desire to find a Reagan-like pony in all of this has caused some of my conservative friends to see one where none exists. In fact, many pessimistic liberals and optimistic conservatives have one thing in common: the view that somehow the opinion places new limitations on the use of the Commerce Clause, because it was deemed not applicable in Sebelius. They also think that the decision substantially restricts the conditions that the federal government can place on states regarding programs partially funded by the federal government. Unfortunately, in my view, both of these beliefs are wrong.

the political Left has no need for concern that this decision has done anything to diminish the federal government’s ability to call the shots if a state decides to take federal money.
So we are left with no silver linings and one major concern for the future that goes beyond Obamacare. It seems that, after this Court decision, while the government cannot make you buy broccoli under the Commerce Clause, it can tax you if you don’t.
And finally, he makes a point that so many have gotten so wrong:

 some optimists say that, since the Court relied upon the government’s taxing power, we are protected as a practical matter, since Congress would always be reluctant to pass a huge new tax. However, in the future Congress can insist it’s not a tax, just as it did this time.

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