28 June 2012

to protect and defend

On this day, the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the law commonly referred to as 'Obamacare' as Constitutional.  The decision was made 5-4, with the deciding vote being cast by Chief Justice John Roberts.  One particular statement which the Chief Justice made is quite unsettling: "It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices."  Perhaps.  But there seems to be another aspect to all of this that lies outside of the scope of such a statement.

Maybe it isn't your job to "protect the American people," but, frankly Mr. Roberts, we did not ask for your protection in the first place.  Furthermore, the People to which you refer do not require your protection.  It is the People who have charged you with your solemn duty - the protection of the Constitution of the United States of America.  To that end you swore a public oath, and we already have a president who has shown his contempt for such an oath.

The judicial role is to act in accordance with laws.  But there is more to that, otherwise we would not entertain the arguments for and against the interpretation of such laws.  As with any aspect of life, there does not exist a complete impartiality in any of your judgments.  Nor does the rule of law suppose that complete partiality can exist.  But the courts are established to provide a measure of wisdom to our balance of powers, one that serves to protect the Constitution from all powers foreign and domestic.

That last line is quite important, especially in the shadow of the statement which the Chief Justice has made.  In other words, if the majority of the People act against the Constitution it will be the responsibility of the court - until the Constitution were amended - to protect its content.  The current healthcare ruling does not fit this scenario fully, as the majority of Americans wish to see the law repealed.  The words of the Chief Justice speak of consequences; he talks as a father who frankly declares that we must now lie in the bed we have made for ourselves.  But at what cost?  The loss of the Constitution seems to be quite affordable to such an outlook.

If the American people were owning up to its own choices, that would be acceptable enough.  There is, however, a problem in making such a simplistic connection (and the Chief Justice is quite aware of this, I am certain).  First, the law was sold to the People as NOT a tax (President Obama, 2009).  Today, the Chief Justice made his ruling on the fact that it WAS a tax.  The philosophical law of non-contradiction tells us that this is nonsensical, an entity cannot 'be' and 'not be' at the same time.  Again, the role of protection becomes clear, for the judicial system is to protect the Constitution.  Second, it is absurd to believe that the judicial system is set in place to deal with a strict interpretation of the letter of the law (or the verbal parsing of the arguments) without regard to the wisdom of foresight, forethought and further consequence.  In other words, the Chief Justice seems to have allowed the course of an entire Republic of the People to shift because of legalize, claiming that anything further is not his job.

The outcome of the ruling is as it stands.  I am not happy with it, but will work from within the system which still stands, even though the document which guarantees its existence seems to be faded and torn.  The principles of freedom and the sovereignty of the People over the state still stands firm in the cause of liberty.  Though tired and worn, frustrated and angry, We the People are not yet done.

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