If you’ve been following the Supreme Court this week you know that it has been hearing arguments on the challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Those opposing it most often cite the “individual mandate” as the reason. This mandate provision requires, after 2014, those individuals who do not already have health insurance to obtain the same from private companies or face tax penalties. There are some exceptions and the actual number of those who may be affected by this provision has been estimated as low as 2% of Americans.

But the argument goes that this is a government directive to purchase something and therefore unconstitutional.

At SCOTUS this argument even descended to the level of, “well if the government can make you buy health insurance because everyone gets sick, then the government can make you buy broccoli because everyone eats”

I won’t even deign to answer that argument.

But all the conservatives are het up about what they derisively call “Obamacare” and claim that the end of the republic is near. All our freedom will be lost. Blah blah blah.

Yet, I have heard none of them—or at least only a few—say nothing at all about an Obama administration policy that could not be more clearly a violation of the Constitution if it were designated so in bright neon lights in every city in the country.

That is the policy that claims it is legal to pursue alleged terrorists who are American citizens, and summarily execute them without formal charges, without arrest and without trial, in utter disregard of the Fifth Amendment and others.

I’ve discussed this topic in on-line forums, and with liberal and conservative friends alike. I have failed to convince them that this policy excuses outright murder. But the conservatives in particular, so ready to condemn the ACA are either strangely silent or tacitly approving of this deviation from the document they purport to hold so sacrosanct.

I’m all in favor of calling a spade a spade. In this case I’m calling a Hypocrite a Hypocrite.

If the shoe fits, wear it.

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  • Penelope Miller aka Yinzerati  On March 29, 2012 at 8:52 AM

    Do you think the law will stand, UMOC? What’s been your impression — my impression is that Roberts and Kennedy will go for it.

    What do you think?

    • umoc193  On March 29, 2012 at 4:06 PM

      I’ve learned that paying sole attention to the questions asked in oral arguments, or the lawyers’ responses, are not always the best clues. Remember there are hundreds of pages of briefs filed addressing these arguments and more.

      I read one story a few days ago where former clerks of the present justices were surveyed, most from the conservatives, and the consensus was the law would be upheld.

      I’ve seen compelling views as to why Roberts and Kennedy, possibly even Scalia, will uphold it.

      I’ve also seen arguments that would provide a techical reason for deferring an opinion.

      I personally find upholding the law to be the more likely scenario, but wouldn’t be agasp were it to be rejected or one of these alternatives invoked.

  • Deke  On March 30, 2012 at 10:36 AM

    Conservatives do not know how to govern because they don’t believe in government.
    Medicare for all would be the best way to go if this case is lost because of our corporate owned SCOTUS.

  • umoc193  On March 30, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    I think we agree on single payer, but the political climate post nullifying the ACA, if that happens, will not be conducive to that, or much of anything else.

  • Deke  On March 30, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    Speaking of SCOTUS, I don’t know if they should wear powdered wigs and carry snuff boxes. Plus dainty handkerchiefs. Since they want to take us back to the 18th century.I’m talking about Thomas, Scaliea, etc. The conservative neo cons on the bench.
    I do think two of them should recuse themselves, Thomas and Scaliea.

  • umoc193  On March 30, 2012 at 7:03 PM

    Former Reg-ulators.

    Did you notice you can still access ROW but not the comments? (Sigh!)

  • Deke  On March 30, 2012 at 9:07 PM

    Yes the links to the comments has been taken down.

  • Richard Wood aka thescarletpumpernickel  On March 31, 2012 at 6:36 PM

    Yes. (ROW and comments.)

    Say – while I’m here.

    Do you honestly believe that the Supremes suspend all prejudices or predispositions when rulng?

    To me that seems contrary to human nature,esp. when one is older (i.e.,cognitively on the downslide), firmly ensconced in a lifetime job, and faced with “hundreds of pages” of briefs (hard work)?


    • umoc193  On March 31, 2012 at 7:02 PM

      Here’s an interesting take on the history of health insurance and the view that there’s been a penalty for opting out since the 1940’s, in effect a mandate.

      This is an opinion of the short and long term political implications if the law is struck down.

  • ciejai  On April 1, 2012 at 4:07 PM

    For the last 5 years I have been attending the Drue Heinz lectures at the Carnegie Museum. Stephen Breyer stands out as the most brilliant speaker I have heard there. Humorous, profound, personable, witty, interesting, and fair. His book is on my list of must-reads. He stands by his contention that the justices are not politicians and that the views they have developed on constitutional issues are not new. All of them have honed their views over a lifetime. He is committed to liberal principles but defended the conservatives on the court against instances of “unfair” criticism.

    If the court strikes the mandate, Mr Obama will have an excellent opportunity to run against the folks who took away health care and gave corporations personhood.

  • Robert Joseph Biller  On April 2, 2012 at 8:39 AM

    Hey, great post Umoc & great comments former Reg-ulators.

    I have little faith in the Supreme Court.

  • umoc193  On April 2, 2012 at 10:29 AM


    I would agree that generally the justices avoid partisan politics. To outsiders, though, many of their rulings give off that whiff of favoring one side or another. But it’s true that’s probably rooted more in overall philosophy and the way they view precedent.

    I saw a couple of previews of the oral arguments that suggested the justices may have to play politics in the health care case, but I’ve not been sold on that notion. I do believe there is ample precedent in the law and in their prior decisions to save the ACA. But the good old boys…and girls…will issue their edict regardless of what I think.

    I’m not worried about Obama’s re-election so much as I am about this missed opportunity for reform, if the law is thrown out. It took 16 years from the failure of the Clinton push until another attempt came to fruition. I’ll be dead long before anything else ever passes. And so will millions of others who need not be.

  • Robert Joseph Biller  On April 2, 2012 at 8:42 PM

    Amen, Ciejai!

  • little_minx  On April 4, 2012 at 3:18 PM

    “…many of their rulings give off that whiff of favoring one side or another.”

    Oh please, UMOC, it’s an overpowering stench.

  • little_minx  On April 4, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    “Speaking of SCOTUS, I don’t know if they should wear powdered wigs and carry snuff boxes. Plus dainty handkerchiefs…”

    Oh Deke, now you’re making me think of “Rumpole of the Bailey”!!!

  • umoc193  On April 5, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    This is the text of a letter to the editor published this morning.

    Mike Sengewalt’s letter today (April 4) takes President Obama to task for voicing his opinion that the Supreme Court should uphold the Affordable Care Act. Mr. Sengewalt’s views are almost laughable in his lack of knowledge and misuderstanding of the Constitution, the history of the law, and his blatant hypocrisy in accusing the President of the same attacks on the Court that have become a hallmark of conservatives for the past fifty years.

    I won’t presume to predict the decision of the Court, though if it follows precedent it should uphold the law. After all, there has been an effective tax penalty on individuals failing to buy health insurance since the 1940’s. That is, if one opts out of employer provided coverage in favor of higher pay, he is taxed on that additional income, whereas the insurance coverage is not a taxable benefit. And we’ve had a mandate for insurance coverage since Social Security (for retirement) and Medicare (for health) were enacted.

    Many people appear to be more offended about health insurance mandates than they are about illegal detention or the erosion of our Fourth Amendment rights by this same court in its decision on strip searches a few days ago.

    Hypocrisy is blatant from two perspectives. First is that, while conservatives moan and groan about the indivdual mandate, conservatives developed this idea and were in favor of it until it bacame politically expedient to oppose it when Obama assumed office. And he was against it at first himself.

    Second, while he scores Obama for criticizing an “activist” court, that’s been the tactic of conservatives since the 1960’s and such landmark rulings as Miranda, or the 1973 Roe v Wade decision that Sengewalt himself cites and, I’m sure, hates.

    Conservatives seem to feel that the Court should treat each case as if it were still just after the Constitution was adopted, absent any developments in our culture and technology and industry and commerce since then. I do predict, if the ACA is overturned, that conservatives will party like it’s 1799.

  • Deke  On April 5, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    Picture Sanctimonious Ricky as one of those GICO cavemen wearing a sweater vest.

  • little_minx  On April 6, 2012 at 11:43 AM

    Deke, like in some of those commercials, you’re insulting cavemen. I picture Rick Sanctimonious clad more like Torquemada.

  • Deke  On April 6, 2012 at 4:23 PM

    LOL minx you promoted Ricky to cardinal.

  • little_minx  On April 6, 2012 at 5:43 PM

    Deke, you sure Ricky wouldn’t consider that a DEmotion?

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