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Chief Justice Says Following Constitution Not Important
Chief Justice John Roberts says in his opinion that the Interstate Commerce clause doesn't authorize the mandatory health insurance provision of Obamacare but that following the Constitution isn't important so long as the Chief Justice is in political agreement with what Congress wants a law to do.
Chief Justice Roberts has apparently forgotten that the Supreme Court's only authority to act is as a legal body. It is not a super house of Congress with the authority to correct what individual justices believe are errors in acts of Congress. The Court is supposed to base its actions on the Constitution rather than on the personal political opinions of the Justices. It is not the role of the Court to determine if a given act of Congress is desirable or not. That is the role of government officials who are elected by the people.
If a majority of the Justices believe the individual mandate isn't authorized by the commerce clause upon which the law is based, then any requirement for insurance purchases is unconstitutional. It doesn't matter if Congress could have made the requirement under another provision of the Constitution. If Congress calls a charge a "penalty" then the Court can only consider whether or not that penalty is in accord with the Constitution. The Chief Justice cannot change the word penalty to the word "tax" to make the law valid.
The only authority the Court has is to send a measure back to Congress so Congress can decide whether to correct what the Court considers to be an error. The Chief Justice cannot say in effect "you little boys and girls in Congress should have called this penalty a tax, so I'll change it to a tax for you." Congress might not want to call the charge a tax because voters wouldn't accept the charge as a tax.
Justices who believe criminals should be prosecuted will nevertheless overturn a conviction if the government used illegal means to obtain a conviction. The Court doesn't say "well the defendant is guilty and the trial court could have convicted him without using illegally obtained evidence so we'll let the conviction stand." The Supreme Court tells the trial court to retry the case without the illegally obtained evidence
The Court must take the same approach when ruling on the constitutionality of legislation. If the legislation is not based on an appropriate provision of the Constitution, then the justices must find the legislation unconstitutional regardless of their personal opinions --- that is if they want people to believe they are motivated by protecting the Constitution rather than on furthering their political beliefs.
Lifetime tenure for Supreme Court Justices may be justifiable if they at least go through the motions of basing their rulings on what the Constitution authorizes. They need to write some legal smokescreen that make it appear their rulings are based on the Constitution. If the Chief Justice or other Justices are going to say in their opinions that their political beliefs are more important than what the Constitution authorizes, then American voters must have the opportunity to determine who serves on the Supreme Court.