Barely had the ink dried on the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision upholding President Obama’s signature health care legislation before certain states, goaded by their Republican-led legislative majorities as well as governorships, dug their heels into the ground and defiantly declared that they would refuse to begin its implementation. Lest we believe that this response to the Court’s decision is a novel one, let’s take a minute to both read a few remarks made in the name of interposition and nullification and take a brief trip down memory lane: Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R): “While we realize this is a huge setback for fiscal sanity and personal liberty, we are not giving up”…Congress must now work steadfastly to repeal this law…” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R): “Here in Louisiana, look, we refused to set up the (healthcare) exchange. We’re not going to start implementing Obamacare.” South Carolina Senator Jim Dimint (R): “I urge every governor to stop implementing the health care exchanges that would help implement the harmful effects of this misguided law.” And this profound polemic from former Alaska governor Sarah Palin (R): “Obama lies; freedom dies.” Forgive my faux surprise, but I thought that these were statesmen who most believed in the rule of law and who called themselves true patriots and glorious defenders of our beloved Constitution!
Now let’s take a brief trip down memory lane and examine some of the responses to the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision: In 1958, instead of complying with the Brown decision, Virginia underwent a campaign of “Massive Resistance” which resulted in some of its schools being shut down for five years. In Alabama, state officials had the myopic gall to tell its needlessly frightened citizenry that the Brown decision “did not involve Alabama.” Imagine that! As the highest court in the land, the Supreme Court had issued a unamimous decree stating that public school segregation was not only legally but morally incompatible with America’s ideals and Alabama officials, apparently forgetting that the Civil War was over and that the nation had once again been reunited, told its citizens that they were exempted from the Court’s landmark decision.
Of course, I could mention how other states reacted to the Brown decision, but my point is clear. Those who claim to love our Constitution only love it when courts rule in their favor. Is Obamacare perfect? Far from it, and like most Americans, my knowledge of it is limited because I haven’t read the whole 2,700 page bill. But from what I know, I have to support it if only because it (1) prohibits insurance companies from denying full coverage to persons, usually women like my wife who is diabetic, with preexisting conditions. (2) prohibits insurance companies from charging women more than men and (3) It allows children, many whom are either just beginning their job career (one of our daughters), are just graduating from college, or are still in college, from being dropped from their parents’ insurance coverage until they reach age 26. And (4) No matter what they tell you, Republicans don’t have a better plan but are water carriers for the nation’s insurance companies.
In closing, I realize that Chief Justice John Roberts, a George W. Bush apointee who wrote the majority opinion, didn’t suddenly become a liberal ideologue, but rather, he placed future constraints on Congress’s use of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause (although I think that Obamacare could have been justified under the General Welfare Clause) and he placed the issue in the hands of the voters who will either reelect Barack Obama in November or will remove him from office. Some, including I myself, think this was a stroke of judicial genious. And some even think that Roberts was, in his own unique way, apologizing to the president for flubbing his inaugural swearing in.
That’s my opinion; what’s yours? (c) 2012, Sherman Crockett, Jr. Not to be reproduced without the author’s permission.
Sources: Segregation in Birmingham Schools (no date given). Retrieved from http://mgagnon.myweb.uga.edu/students/3090/04SP3090-Britton.htm. The Editorial Board’s Opinion: Court Ruled; Now State Should Act (2012, 7.1). p. A21. Bookman, J. (2012, 71). Election is Key to Care Act. Atlanta Journal Constitution, 7.1.12, p. A22; Epstein, R. J. (2012, 6.29). GOP Governors Aim for Health Care Showdown. (2012, 7.1). Retrieved from http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0612/78024.html. Brown v. Board of Education: Virginia Responds. Retrieved from http://www.lva.virginia.gov/exhibits/brown/