SCOTUS: Individual Mandate 'Can Reasonably Be Read As a Tax'; There Goes the Future of Liberty, Conservatives Say

June 28, 2012 - 10:13 AM

(CNSNews.com) - Here's a key element of the Supreme Court opinion, in which Chief Justice John Roberts joined with the liberals to uphold the Democrats' health care law on a 5-4 vote:

"The Federal Government does not have the power to order people to buy health insurance. Section 5000A would therefore be unconstitutional if read as a command. The Federal Government does have the power to impose a tax on those without health insurance. Section 5000A is therefore constitutional, because it can reasonably be read as a tax."

Reaction was swift:

The conservative Family Research Council said the ruling jeopardizes the future of liberty and religious freedom.

"The Supreme Court has today given the federal government unlimited authority to use its tax power to require Americans to engage in specific commercial activity. The obvious implication is chilling: Uncle Sam can make you buy anything, at any price, for any reason," said FRC Legal Counsel Ken Klukowski, J.D. "That's why today, the American dream gave way to a real American nightmare. President Obama's vow about 'fundamentally transforming the United States of America ' was fulfilled. The Supreme Court essentially said it cannot articulate any limiting principle on the power of the federal government.

"By ruling that the law is constitutional, the Supreme Court gave the federal government the power to order private citizens to enter into contracts with private organizations and give those organizations their money. This ruling fundamentally transforms the federal government from one of limited and specified powers in the Constitution to an all-powerful central government with plenary power over every area and aspect of Americans' lives from cradle to grave."

"Today's Supreme Court decision will do serious harm to American families, said FRC President Tony Perkins."Not only is the individual mandate a profound attack on our liberties, but it is only one section among hundreds of provisions in the law that will force taxpayers to fund abortions, violate their conscience rights, and impose a massive tax and debt burden on American families.

"The Obama administration has created, for the first time in American history, new federal regulations that toss aside the constitutional right to religious freedom by forcing religious institutions and employers to pay for abortion-causing drugs, contraceptives and sterilizations.

"It's now time to replace those leaders who disregarded the constitutional limitations of their authority and the deeply held religious beliefs of their constituents, voting for the government takeover of healthcare. We must repeal this abortion-funding health care law and restore the Constitution to its rightful place."

"Stopping Obamacare is now up to the American people," the Republican National Committee said on Thursday morning.

A number of politicians echoed that theme in their statements, as follows:

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas): “The Supreme Court made clear today that the American people will be the ultimate judge of ObamaCare.  As Republicans, we will redouble our efforts to repeal this job-killing law. We must replace it with reforms that expand access and enhance care without adding trillions of dollars to the national debt and inserting Washington bureaucrats between Americans and their doctors. While I am disappointed in the outcome, there will be plenty of time to debate the Court’s decision; now we must focus on electing Republicans in November who will end ObamaCare and put Americans back to work.”

Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio): "The president’s health care law is hurting our economy by driving up health costs and making it harder for small businesses to hire.  Today’s ruling underscores the urgency of repealing this harmful law in its entirety. What Americans want is a common-sense, step-by-step approach to health care reform that will protect Americans’ access to the care they need, from the doctor they choose, at a lower cost.  Republicans stand ready to work with a president who will listen to the people and will not repeat the mistakes that gave our country ObamaCare.”

Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) - "The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold ObamaCare is a crushing blow to patients throughout the country. ObamaCare has failed to keep the President’s basic promise of allowing those who like their health care to keep it, while increasing costs and reducing access to quality care for patients. In this tough economy, jobs and economic growth are on the minds of most Americans, but ObamaCare has increased uncertainty for small businessmen and women and forced them to put their hiring decision."

President Obama is expected to speak later Thursday.