Supreme Court Supremely Fails in Upholding the Individual Mandate

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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.

Supreme Court Ruling on Strip Searches a Threat to Civil Liberties

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The United States Supreme Court, the highest c...

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)

The 5-4 ruling by the United States Supreme Court that strip searches, even for minor offenses, are legal is a disturbing blow to civil liberties. A man in New Jersey was stripped search after he was thought to have failed to pay a fine. It turned out that he had actually paid it, but that is irrelevant. What is relevant is that someone accused of a minor offense should not be humiliated and made to undress, having the most personal parts of the body probed. Apparently the Supreme Court, having made other provisions of the Constitution irrelevant due to their meddling, now believe that the Fourth Amendment no longer applies.

I do not understand how the justices who supported the majority opinion–Kennedy (who wrote the opinion), Chief Justice Roberts, Alito, Scalia, and Thomas–could be considered the Court’s “conservatives.” Surely it is not conservative to give police the power to abuse ordinary people who are charged (not convicted, thus they are legally innocent) with minor offenses such as a fine or traffic violation. One of the few good things the Warren Court did in the 1960s was to limit excessive police power. Otherwise, we run the danger of facing the same kind of atrocities visited on the American colonists by British law enforcement officials military personnel, or the atrocities that take place in any police state. I fear that the United States (as well as the United Kingdom) are on their way to becoming police states.

As we know from the Stanford Prison Experiment, people placed in positions of total power over someone’s treatment, especially when such treatment involves stripping the patient naked, easily move to abuse their power. The students in the Stanford experiment playing the “guards” would have the students playing the “prisoners” strip naked for “delousing.” It did not take long from that point for further abuses to occur. The kind of humiliation involved in a strip search should be reserved for the most hardened prisoners who might be hiding weapons or drugs on their person.

Americans are rapidly regressing to the point that they “do not deserve security nor freedom,” to use the statement attributed to Benjamin Franklin. It is unfortunate that the highest court in the land has sped the process of changing a democratic republic into a tyranny–even a “soft tyranny” is a bad thing and can lead to a full-fledged Soviet-style tyranny later. Police departments should use common sense in their strip search policies. If the states have any recourse given this ruling, they should pass state laws limiting police power regarding strip searches. A small risk of something bad happening is better than the greater risk of a police state.