English: The United States Supreme Court, the ...

English: The United States Supreme Court, the highest court in the United States, in 2010. Top row (left to right): Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer, Associate Justice Samuel A. Alito, and Associate Justice Elena Kagan. Bottom row (left to right): Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, and Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

U. S. Courts have increased the power of the federal government vs. the power of the states. Those in favor of expanding federal power have often referred to the Commerce Clause to justify such actions, and that was the Obama Administration‘s tactic in its arguments before the Supreme Court supporting the individual mandate. This mandate requires that all Americans buy health insurance. States, fearful that they would be the ones paying for such insurance, sued, arguing that such a requirement is an unconstitutional expansion of federal power over the states. The individual mandate also marks the first time the federal government will require Americans to buy a particular produce.

Chief Justice John Roberts, in his majority opinion, argued that the power of the federal government to tax its citizens is sufficient to justify the individual mandate. This is a dangerous ruling–if the government has the authority under tax laws to force American citizens to buy health insurance, would it not have the power to require American citizens to buy other products? It would seem so. The states would have no veto power over the national government in this area.

Tax law is overly expansive already–anyone who deals with the Internal Revenue Service can witness to the maze of rules, the (often unintentional) violation of which can cost someone money, property, or freedom. Fines are the penalty for violating the individual mandate. How does the government presume to enforce such fines? Would prison become an option, an option that recalls the bad old days of imprisonment for debt. How else could the Supreme Court use the taxing powers of the federal government to increase government power over the states and over individuals? I fear the options are potentially unlimited. Hopefully a new administration will come into power with a willing Congress that will reverse this legislation. However, the harm the Supreme Court has done remains. Once again, the will of the majority of the American people has been thwarted by the Congress, by the President, and now by the Supreme Court. I wonder how long the dying embers of the Republic will glow before the light finally goes out on freedom in America.

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