The Supreme Court’s decision regarding Obamacare elated many on the left. It is being viewed as a validation of the government’s mandate (tax/fine) for universal health care insurance, but the manner in which the case was decided very well may end up being more consequential than the actual mandate (tax/fine).
The desire, or demand, for immediate political results often overlooks long term consequences. The precedent set by the Supreme Court in re-defining a mandate as a tax/fine does not apply only to left-leaning mandates (taxes/fines). When the right once again controls the White House and/or Congress, the use (or abuse) of a mandate (tax/fine) will then be in their hands.
Perhaps those obtaining an abortion can be fined/taxed/mandated for having done so. Voter ID could very well find itself being mandated/taxed/fined as well as carrying proper immigration papers. Proof of paying income taxes could be mandated (taxed/fined) before even being allowed to vote, and registering to vote, of course, could easily be mandated/taxed/fined as well as refusing to vote.
Those on welfare or unemployment could end up being forced by a mandate/tax/fine to take any job the government deems proper, while food stamps could be mandated/taxed/fined to be redeemed only at designated establishments for designated items. Obtaining welfare, unemployment or food stamps could be dependent upon passing a mandated/taxed/fined drug test. Reproduction could be mandated/taxed/fined in order to obtain a marriage license or keep one valid.
If challenged, any of those mandates/taxes/fines can be twisted and re-defined by a politically sympathetic Supreme Court and shoe-horned into agreeing with the Constitution. Precedents are double-edged swords.
One has to wonder if Supreme Court Justice Roberts realized this. It is obvious many on the left have not recognized these consequences. They are far too busy spiking the political football and relishing Obama’s cherry-picking of laws to enforce – another precedent that will surely come back to haunt them. When that occurs, the outrage will be deafening and the currently ignored “common good” will become important again.
David J. Hentosh