Chief justice is a turncoat

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Congratulations! Single-handedly, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts has done something distinctive in the history of a once-great nation.

Since its beginnings, the struggle to protect federalism has been unabated. Admittedly, the proponents of a strong central government have won almost every battle. The one thing that has been constant during the struggle, however, is the Constitution as given to us by our Founders. Roberts forever will be known for a distinction, as infamous as it may be: On June 28, 2012, his majority opinion sealed the fate of our republic.

Roberts’ convoluted and incoherent opinion penned by him alone has once and for all eviscerated the Constitution of the United States. What was left of America’s moorings to the bedrock of our founding documents has been sheared, leaving the republic adrift on a vast sea of socialism.

Roberts, like his president, took an oath (in Mr. Obama’s case, twice because of Roberts) to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. Roberts’ betrayal of that oath yesterday puts him in the company of enemies of individual liberty. While betrayal by the president has come to be common and expected, Roberts’ betrayal particularly stings, and can only be compared to that of a Brutus.

Knowing the hubris characteristic of Roberts’ class, I doubt seriously he will acknowledge his failure, but in my humble opinion, he should hang his head in shame. The irony of it all is that Mr. Obama, as is his custom, would have simply ignored a decision that overturned the Affordable Care Act (an oxymoron if I ever heard one) and went full steam ahead implementing it.

Roberts’ actions were not only needless, but in so doing he did irreparable harm to the very document he purports to jealously defend. History will remember his deceit.

Gary B. Williamson

Augusta

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Jon Lester
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Jon Lester 06/30/12 - 03:55 am
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And what are your credentials as a constitutional scholar?

However different his stated opinion was from those of the "liberal" justices, there clearly must have been some compelling reason why he, as chief justice, couldn't square the trend of the "conservative" dissent. The man takes his job seriously, just as he was asked to do by President Bush and a confirming Senate.

fd1962
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fd1962 06/30/12 - 05:05 am
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Certainly the Chronicle must
Unpublished

Certainly the Chronicle must pay these stooges to create such blather. It's mortifying for our community to be characterized by such journalistically sanctioned idiocy.

effete elitist liberal
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effete elitist liberal 06/30/12 - 08:09 am
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federalism

The mandate part of the Roberts decision has little or nothing to do with federalism. In fact, Mr. Williamson, if you reread the text of the decision, you will find that the part most directly related to federalism issues was the Medicaid section, which was in fact the big victory for limited federal government intrusion into states' rights. Roberts decision on the Medicaid provisions of ACA clearly strengthens federalism. So, please, reread, and then get back to us when you have the facts....

dichotomy
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dichotomy 06/30/12 - 08:21 am
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Who knows what was going

Who knows what was going through Robert's mind when he committed this treason. Whatever it was, it was not the defense of individual liberty and restraint of federal powers. It was NEVER the intent of our founders that the government could force you to doing ANYTHING by using the power of TAXATION. Roberts has given the federal government the power to FORCE you to do anything by taking as much of what you have as they so desire and calling it a TAX. If you are not scared you should be. Under Roberts totally illogical ruling the federal government can seize everything you have by simply calling it a TAX. That is the simplicity of this ruling. Regardless of how you feel about Obamacare this decision should stike fear in your heart.

Carleton Duvall
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Carleton Duvall 06/30/12 - 09:22 am
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Roberts a turncoat????

I think that it is early to label Justice Roberts as a turncoat. As noted, we do not know what was going through his mind at the time of his decision.
Harley posted a good article yesterday about Robert's decision. Go back, please, and read it. It puts an interesting take on why he did what he did. I am inclined to accept that article as logical.

Carleton Duvall
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Carleton Duvall 06/30/12 - 09:31 am
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dichotomy said

Who knows what was going through Robert's mind when he committed this treason.

I have always been with you 100% until today. Don't you think this is a little strong?

harley_52
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harley_52 06/30/12 - 10:45 am
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I'm still not convinced one

I'm still not convinced one way or the other on this, but I'm leaning against what seems to be the predominant Conservative position which is basically that expressed by dichotomy and Mr.Williamson that holds the Chief Justice as a traitor and a turncoat.

I would have liked to see the entire law thrown out just like the majority of the American people and all card carrying Conservatives. Since it wasn't, and since I assume the Chief Justice is a smart and honorable man, I keep asking myself why he did what he did.

Some think (and I tend to agree right now) that forcing the funding for these programs to be removed from the shield of the Commerce Clause and forcing them to be openly described as funded by a "tax" will make them much more difficult to get politicians to sign up to them and ultimately make them law. Who wants to run for reelection when they've openly supported the biggest tax increase in American history?

I'm not smart enough to understand all the ins and outs of the decision just yet, but I'm working on it.

desertcat6
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desertcat6 06/30/12 - 10:52 am
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Our Constitution in its

Our Constitution in its amended form gives Congress the power to direct, and lay and collect taxes, and lay and collect taxes on income. The latter a power laid out in the 16th Amendment. Unlike laws, once ratified, amendments to the Constitution can't be challenged in court.

harley_52
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harley_52 06/30/12 - 11:21 am
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Your point, desertcat?

Your point, desertcat?

Jake
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Jake 06/30/12 - 11:50 am
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Puzzled

Ever since the announcement was made on Thursday, I have been puzzled by Justice Roberts' decision. I have read a few takes on why people think he did what he did but I, like harley and others, will have to wait and see how this pans out. Often times things are not really how they seem.

harley_52
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harley_52 06/30/12 - 12:47 pm
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Congress has the power to

Congress has the power to increase federal income tax to 80 percent, across the board. Congress has the power to increase capital gains tax to 90 percent. Congress has the power to tax consumption, or basically whatever else they choose. All they have to do is get the measure approved by both houses of Congress and signed by the President.

Therein lies the rub.

They KNOW if they "lay and collect" taxes the citizenry considers wasteful or too extreme, they won't win their next election. The voters will "keep them honest," so to speak.

Personally, I think that may have been the issue that drove the Chief Justice's decision. I think he may have been saying "let the people decide" and let the Congress and the President risk their political lives on programs that TAX people unreasonably.

I'm not so sure that's a bad strategy.

Jake
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Jake 06/30/12 - 12:16 pm
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Unreasonable

I suppose that is what will help determine the fall elections, if the majority of people feel like this is a "unreasonable" tax. Then again, not enough time may have elapsed for people to actually know what effect this will have.

harley_52
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harley_52 06/30/12 - 12:37 pm
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It will be the job of the

It will be the job of the Republicans to make the case that it's unreasonable and will damage the economy further. The democrats (with their supporters in the mainstream media) will have to convince the voters it's wise, fair, and will make the Country a better place.

I think Chief Justice Roberts found a way for Obamacare to be Constitutional and decided, since it was, that the Supreme Court should not be in the middle of a dispute and forced to make a decision that was best left to the voters AND certain to bring a flood of criticism to the Court for being "partisan."

I'm not dismissing the possibility that he's a "turncoat," just trying to consider all the possibilities.

Carleton Duvall
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Carleton Duvall 06/30/12 - 12:41 pm
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To those that use the word turncoat or traitor

I don't consider the Chief Justice a traitor or turncoat regardless of what his reasons were to find as he did. He owes none of us any special loyalty. His responsibility is to find according to his interpretation of the Constitution. If he has done that he has fulfilled his responsibility.

No_Longer_Amazed
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No_Longer_Amazed 06/30/12 - 12:52 pm
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Mmm.....

Chief Justice John Roberts might be smarter than many people think. By making this a "tax" it seems as if he has left the door wide open for a new challenge once the first person has to pay it, because where in the constitution does it authorize such a "tax" ?

harley_52
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harley_52 06/30/12 - 12:54 pm
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Carleton... I think the last

Carleton...

I think the last sentence of your post is the issue at hand.

Some, apparently, believe that he has NOT fulfilled that responsibility. I don't happen to be one of them, at least for now.

harley_52
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harley_52 06/30/12 - 12:56 pm
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"....where in the

"....where in the constitution does it authorize such a "tax" ?"

Just after the place where it authorizes a capital gains tax.

CobaltGeorge
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CobaltGeorge 06/30/12 - 01:57 pm
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harley

You have made some real good possible common sense reasons for what action Roberts took. I was thinking in the area of Treason, but now you have me thinking.....

carcraft
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carcraft 06/30/12 - 02:03 pm
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The problem is that the

The problem is that the authors of Obama care never called it a tax! Roberts basically rewrote the bill and called it a tax, now if that isn't judicial activism what is? Yes this opens up all sorts of problems and questions, but I am not sure until all this gets sorted out!

harley_52
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harley_52 06/30/12 - 02:16 pm
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"...but now you have me

"...but now you have me thinking....."

Good! That's the purpose of these boards, isn't it? None of us (well, not me for sure) has all the answers and all the facts. We all have opinions and these boards offer the opportunity for thoughtful (hopefully polite) discussion.

I've learned a lot in here.

harley_52
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harley_52 06/30/12 - 02:19 pm
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Carcraft.....I'm not so sure

Carcraft.....I'm not so sure it makes any difference what they called it. The SC ruled that it cannot be tied to the Commerce Clause and that it is a TAX, no matter what it may have been called.

And I'm not sure such a ruling should be interpreted as "judicial activism." Perhaps it's more like "judicial precision."

Bruno
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Bruno 06/30/12 - 02:24 pm
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Roberts isn't a "turncoat".

Roberts isn't a "turncoat". He basically ruled that if viewed solely under the commerce clause Obamacare would be unconstitutional but given that the government lawyers argued it under congress' ability to levy taxes it is constitutional. I was very much surprised that the media didn't report on the fact that even though Obama was adamant about it not being a tax, his justice department argued that it was a tax. Obama lied.
One thing that we have learned from this is that any time Obama says "This isn't a tax", you can bet your bottom that it is.

Carleton Duvall
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Carleton Duvall 06/30/12 - 02:55 pm
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My closing comment

Justice Roberts has been called both a turncoat and a traitor. No one, however, has called the other four justices by either. In fact , Roberts is the only one that has been mentioned in these comments. Please, someone, tell me what the other four are. Roberts vote alone would not have been noticed if his had not been the deciding vote. Am I missing something? If I am, please tell me.

burninater
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burninater 06/30/12 - 03:15 pm
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CD, it is strict ideologues

CD, it is strict ideologues that are casting aspersions on Roberts.They seem to believe that a judge must act according to his perceived ideology, rather than according to his interpretation of the law. Because they think the other 4 in the majority would have ruled the way they did regardless of the legal questions, they aren't being called out as betraying their ideology.

harley_52
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harley_52 06/30/12 - 03:21 pm
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I think most people expected

I think most people expected the four liberal Justices to vote in favor of Obamacare. Most expected four votes against Obamacare including Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and Roberts. Most people thought Kennedy would, as usual, be the swing vote and most expected him to vote with the Conservatives on this issue. Most Conservatives counted Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and Roberts as sure things.

They're upset that Roberts wasn't a sure thing. That Kennedy voted with the Conservatives and Obamacare would have gone down in flames if Roberts had done what everybody expected him to do.

He didn't and Obamacare survived because he wasn't true to his Conservative orientation. If Kennedy had voted with the Liberals nobody would have been particularly surprised, but Roberts???? Unthinkable....

People understand that this was a HUGE decision. That Obama's first term success or failure would be largely decided by the vote. I understand why so many people (including me) are disappointed by the decision. I'm not ready to attack Chief Justice Roberts' motives like many others are.

harley_52
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harley_52 06/30/12 - 03:24 pm
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"CD, it is strict ideologues

"CD, it is strict ideologues that are casting aspersions on Roberts."

And "strict ideologues" from your side had already begun their attacks on the Supreme Court based solely on their anticipation of a decision that went the other way.

You folks had to rewrite your positions after Roberts saved your bacon.

carcraft
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carcraft 06/30/12 - 04:04 pm
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Iis also interesting that the

Itis also interesting that the strict ideologues on the left in the Supreme Court can ALWAYS be counted on to always make sure the left wing partisan interest is upheld, no matter how badly the The Constitution and the Engish language are tortured!

harley_52
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harley_52 06/30/12 - 04:27 pm
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I agree with that completely,

I agree with that completely, carcraft.

One of the things that bothers me is that Justices Alito, Thomas, Scalia, and Kennedy apparently weren't in on Roberts' thinking on the issue. If he was right in taking the position he did, why didn't they concur? In fact, some say Justice Kennedy was visibly upset when Roberts announced the decision.

I don't understand it all......

burninater
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burninater 06/30/12 - 04:44 pm
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And "strict ideologues" from

And "strict ideologues" from your side had already begun their attacks on the Supreme Court based solely on their anticipation of a decision that went the other way.
---------
Not "my side", I use my brain and think for myself. Show me a single attack I have made against a judge. All my comments are archived, have at it.

It's not about the sides, it's about the complete lack of respect for American institutions and their representatives. Anyone calling a judge a traitor or a coward for judging the law instead of following the party line has no respect for America and what it stands for.

gary@garywilliamsonmd.com
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gary@garywilliamsonmd.com 06/30/12 - 05:10 pm
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Editors re-write of my letter

My post to the Augusta Chronicle on 6/29 was titled : "Letter to John Roberts, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States".....Dear Sir,......This was a copy of a letter e-mailed to him. The editorial staff rewrote it and titled it: Chief Justice is a Turncoat changing it from a first person directed communication to Justice Roberts to a third person communication "about" Justice Roberts. For the record, I never accused Mr. Roberts of treason or called him a turncoat.
As a surgeon, I am not in the least concerned about the upholding of Obama Care. Anyone working in the profession knows that this juggernaut will not be turned around even by a Supreme Court decision. My unhappiness with this ruling is HOW Mr. Roberts chose to rule. He is a self admitted strict constructionist. The unbelievable leap he took in changing the mandate to a tax is so out of character. His tortured language and reasoning seems ( at least to me ) to made up out of whole cloth. The tax to which he refers is a new never before levied tax. It taxes a citizen if he does not care to purchase a mandated product of the Federal Government. This is brand new. The only taxes authorized by the constitution are a capitation tax, excise tax, or income tax. There is absolutely NO language allowing this new tax. Wait until socialist in Congress figure out that they now have a whole new arsenal of statist power allowing them to bombard the American people with an endless stream of coercive legislation commanding that they purchase a government mandated product or else pay a tax. Buy an electric car ( General Motors Volt...owned in large part by the government ) or pay a tax if you choose not to. Buy solar panels for your house ( Solendra and other government funded green companies ) or pay a tax if you choose not to. And on and on. Am I the only one concerned about this unbridled power that this decision will allow? I doubt seriously that Mr. Roberts wanted that, but in trying to be Pontious Pilate or pour oil on the water or whatever this awful thing is, he has strayed far from a strict interpretation of the document he is sworn to uphold. His is not to judge the political winds, to uphold the perception or esteem of his court, or whatever other motive has been put forth over the past two days. We are used to opponents of decisions accusing a justice of legislating from the bench, but this curious brief re-writes the law WITHIN the decision to MAKE IT constitutional. Unprecedented!!!! He can not legislate from the bench, he MUST point to the document and show where it says so. A completely new tax ( not capitation, excise, or income ) appears no where in the body of the constitution or any amendment.

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