The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
The traditional view of the United States Supreme Court as the ultimate, objective, arbiter of our system of government and thereby protector of our liberties took an enormous hit last week when the court upheld the constitutionality of Obamacare.
In an almost universally panned opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts effectively gutted the notion of constitutionally limited government. Incredibly, the chief justice said that while Congress had no power under the Constitution – i.e. its Commerce Clause – to pass the personal mandate provision of Obamacare requiring individuals to purchase health insurance, it could nevertheless penalize Americans through the imposition of a tax for non-compliance with it. That is, the lack of constitutional authority to pass particular legislation no longer prevents Congress from getting its way by exercising its virtually unlimited general power under the Constitution to write tax laws.
Many of those concerned about the Obama health plan were, to be sure, concerned about its financial and social implications. But others were troubled by the reliance of the president and Congress for legislative authority on the Commerce Clause, which empowers Congress to pass laws regulating activity that affects interstate commerce. The fear was that if Congress could rely on the clause to force individual Americans to buy health insurance, there is little that could not be the subject of legislation under that provision of the Constitution.
So, initially at least, there was widespread approval for Justice Roberts’s ruling that reliance on the Commerce Clause was misplaced. Indeed, as Mr. Roberts wrote, reliance on the Commerce Clause “would open a new and potentially vast domain to congressional authority…. The Framers gave Congress the power to regulate commerce, not to compel it, and for over 200 years both our decisions and Congress’s actions have reflected this understanding.
But soon reality set in. For one thing, the Roberts pronouncement on the inapplicability of the Commerce Clause played no part in the ultimate ruling of the case, which was decided on the basis of the congressional power to tax. And no other justice joined his opinion – not the four on the conservative side who issued their own dissents while voting to strike down Obamacare – and not the four liberal justices who wrote opinions that agued the Commerce Clause would also work.
So, technically, Justice Roberts’s reasoning is not necessarily precedential and merely what lawyers call dicta, or opinions of a judge that do not embody the resolution or determination of the court. The dangers in a Congress and a president invoking the Commerce Clause in justification of Obamacare and four justices on the Supreme Court acquiescing in that are clear. But even this is overtaken by the vast expansion, thanks to Justice Roberts’s ruling, of the power to enforce compliance with laws Congress is not empowered to enact.
There is much disturbing speculation that Justice Roberts stretched to find a way to uphold Obamacare and avoid the appearance that he was presiding over a “conservative” court bent on striking down the signature legislation of a liberal president. Yet he in effect rewrote the law in that Congress – and the president – had specifically relied on the Commerce Clause and eschewed reliance on the taxing power. He also conflated the notion of penalty provisions for violating laws or regulations with a tax when judicial precedent has invariably treated penalties and taxes as being fundamentally different.
One plain result is that the Supreme Court now appears a politically driven plaything of a chief justice whose machinations have created the potential for the exercise of unlimited federal control over the American people. It also seems unlikely that Chief Justice Roberts can continue as an effective leader of the court, a role that involves promoting collegiality and cooperation, as he failed to get the support of even one other justice. And the sort of vituperative language with which his conservative colleagues rebuked him in dissent has rarely been seen on the court.
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Many books have supported the preferability- not to be confused with desirability- of the status quo
Consider the Pope’s desperation, reading daily reports of the slaughter of Christians by Muslims
The contrast between a Dem pretending to love Israel & a Dem who truly loves Israel is CRYSTAL CLEAR
U.S and European demands for the creation of a Palestinian State in the West Bank is world hypocrisy.
We take a whole person approach, giving our people assistance with whatever they need.
During my spiritual journey I discovered G-d spoke to man only once, to the Jewish people at Sinai
20 years after the great Ethiopian aliyah, we must treat them like everyone else; no better or worse
Connecting Bamidbar&Shavuot is simple-A world without Torah is midbar; with Torah a blessed paradise
Many Black protesters compared Baltimore’s unrest to the Palestinian penchant of terrorism & rioting
She credited success to “mini” decisions-Small choices building on each other leading to big changes
Shavuot 1915, 200000 Jews were expelled; amongst the largest single expulsions since Roman times
Realizing there was no US military threat, Iran resumed, expanded & accelerated its nuclear program
“Enlightened Jews” who refuse to show chareidim the tolerance they insist we give to Arabs sicken me
Somewhat surprisingly, the Vatican’s unwelcome gesture was diametrically at odds with what President Obama signaled in an interview with the news outlet Al Arabiya.
“Let’s get something straight so we don’t kid each other…[the Iranians] already have paved a path to a bomb’s worth of material,” said Mr. Biden. “Iran could get there now if they walked away in two to three months without a deal.”
The president is unwilling to cede any of what he considers his exclusive powers in the area of foreign policy and has struggled mightily to keep the Senate away from any role in the kind of deal to be negotiated.
A committed Religious Zionist, he was a sought-after adviser on Zionist affairs around the world.
More important, Mr. Obama is simply acceding to Iran’s position on the timing of the lifting of sanctions.
For our community, Mrs. Clinton’s foreign policy record will doubtless attract the most attention. And it is a most interesting one.
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