The above quote is from Fleet Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto upon the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the conservatives in saying that the individual mandate was not justified under the Commerce Clause (i.e., Congress may not compel commerce in order to regulate it), nor under the Necessary and Proper Clause (i.e., a provision of law cannot be self-legitimized because it is “necessary and proper” to carry-out other portions of the law). He then switched sides and found with the liberals on the Court that the mandate can be construed as a tax – something every Democrat vehemently denied (they knew it would not pass as a new tax). “Because ‘every reasonable construction must be resorted to, in order to save a statute from unconstitutionality,’ Hooper v California, 155 US 648, 657, the question is whether it is ‘fairly possible’ to interpret the mandate as imposing such a tax, Crowell v Benson, 285 US 22, 62. Pp. 31-32.” A 5-4 majority held that such an interpretation is possible.
This will surprise some who know me, but I agree with the Court – I don’t like the decision, but they followed the Constitution. Mr Chief Justice Roberts shot down the fantasy that Congress can create commerce disguised as regulation, reasoning that it would give Congress unlimited power to dictate behavior. Likewise, he would not allow a provision to be deemed necessary and proper that wasn’t rooted in an existing precedent. And he faithfully upheld the principle that a law must be examined from all reasonable angles before declaring it unconstitutional.
Clearly the Chief Justice doesn’t like this law, as he wrote, “It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices;” but equally clearly, he couldn’t let that color his duty, as he quotes John Marshall’s observation that, “The peculiar circumstances of the moment may render a measure more or less wise, but cannot render it more or less constitutional.” Mr Chief Justice Roberts has forever answered his critics that he is a political zealot.
Writing for a 7-2 majority (Justices Ginsberg and Sotomayor dissenting), Mr Chief Justice Roberts explains the reversal of the Medicaid expansion provision punishing the states for non-compliance by revoking all of its Medicaid funding. The Chief Justice writes, “The Spending Clause grants Congress the power ‘to pay the Debts and provide for the … general Welfare of the United States’ (Article I, Section 8, Clause 1). Congress may use this power to establish cooperative state-federal Spending Clause programs. The legitimacy of Spending Clause legislation, however, depends on whether a State voluntarily and knowingly accepts the terms of such programs (Pennhurst State School and Hospital v Halderman). The Constitution simply does not give Congress the authority to require the States to regulate (New York v United States). When Congress threatens to terminate other grants as a means of pressuring the States to accept a Spending Clause program, the legislation runs counter to this Nation’s system of federalism.”
Section 1396c of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act gives the Secretary of Health and Human Services the authority to penalize States that choose not to participate in the Medicaid expansion by taking away their existing Medicaid funding. The threatened loss of over 10% of a State’s overall budget is economic dragooning that leaves the States with no real option but to acquiesce in the Medicaid expansion. By redefining eligibility as those earning 133% of the poverty level – by definition, non-poor and open to all – this expansion accomplishes a shift in kind, not merely degree. The constitutional violation is fully remedied by precluding the Secretary from applying §1396c to withdraw existing Medicaid funds for failure to comply with the requirements set out in the expansion, while threatening only the federal funds meant to reimburse the States for the expansion itself.
The practical impact of this ruling is that the States may merely opt-out of the Medicaid expansion while only sacrificing the three years’ worth of reimbursement included in the Act. Here, too, the Chief Justice held to a conservative principle that the Constitution means what it says – that we are a federalist system of government of limited powers.
While I hate the results, I admire the process. As the Chief Justice noted, neither the Constitution nor the Court is responsible for the political choices of the people – we got what we paid for. While the Act itself was forced onto the people against their popular will and without a single Republican vote, it can be construed to be constitutional, as amended (the reworking of §1396c to be done by Congress), and that is thanks to the only honest players in the whole ObamaCare debacle – that “unelected group” of Justices.
 National Federation of Independent Business, et al v Sebelius, et al, Opinion of Chief Justice Roberts, pp. 16-27.
 National Federation of Independent Business, et al v Sebelius, et al, Opinion of Chief Justice Roberts, pp. 11-15.
 National Federation of Independent Business, et al v Sebelius, et al, Syllabus, pp. 3-4.
 National Federation of Independent Business, et al v Sebelius, et al, Opinion of Chief Justice Roberts, pp. 33-44.
 National Federation of Independent Business, et al v Sebelius, et al, Syllabus, p. 6.
 Chief Justice John Marshall, A Friend of the Constitution Number V, in Alexandria Gazette, July 5 1819, quoted at, National Federation of Independent Business, et al v Sebelius, et al, Opinion of Chief Justice John Roberts, p. 6.
 National Federation of Independent Business, et al v Sebelius, et al, Opinion of Chief Justice John Roberts, pp. 45-58.
 National Federation of Independent Business, et al v Sebelius, et al, Syllabus, p. 5.
 Medicaid currently offers federal funding to States to assist pregnant women, children, needy families, the blind, the elderly, and the disabled in obtaining medical care.
 National Federation of Independent Business, et al v Sebelius, et al, Opinion of Chief Justice Roberts, pp. 51-55.