Time To Say Goodbye To Judicial Overreach

The Supreme Court has turned America from a republic into a constitutional monarchy.

Last week, the Supreme Court announced that it would hear yet another conservative-fueled challenge to Obamacare. This time, the attack on Obamacare focuses on the phrasing of one sentence in the Affordable Care Act that talks about who can receive subsidies under the healthcare law.

That phrasing is in Section 36B of the Affordable Care Act, which gives the government the power to subsidize healthcare plans , “...which were enrolled in through an Exchange established by the State.”

Basically, as it stands now, Americans who sign up for healthcare insurance under Obamacare through the federal exchange receive a subsidy to help pay for that insurance. However, the plaintiffs in the case are arguing that, based on the wording of the particular clause, Americans who sign up for Obamacare through the federal exchange AREN’T eligible for the subsidies; only Americans who sign up through state-run exchanges are.

Subsidies are a major aspect of Obamacare, and if the conservative justices on the Supreme Court were to rule against them in this case, millions of Americans will lose the healthcare coverage they got under Obamacare.

The frivolous nature of this challenge to Obamacare is pretty clear, and you would think that the Supreme Court would recognize that, and would have refused to hear the case. But, given the history of the Roberts’ Supreme Court, we really shouldn’t be surprised that the court decided to hear the case. After all, the Roberts’ court is synonymous with the judicial overreach that’s turned America into a constitutional monarchy.

Over the past several years, we’ve seen time and time again how the conservative justices of the Roberts Court are willing to engage in judicial activism and overreach. As the Alliance for Justice points out, the Roberts Court has routinely taken up cases that is has no right hearing.

In a report titled, “The Roberts Court and Judicial Overreach,” the Alliance for Justice writes that, “The Supreme Court generally grants certiorari—that is, agrees to hear a case appealed to it—where there is an unsettled question of law or where the circuit courts of appeal have split on the proper interpretation of a given law. In recent years, however, the Court has taken a number of cases outside these parameters, which, in almost all cases, results in rulings favoring corporate interests.”

But the Roberts Court’s judicial overreach doesn’t stop there. The court has also routinely answered legal questions that weren’t even presented to it, and that were entirely unnecessary to decide the case before them.

For example, in the highly controversial Citizens United decision, the court was initially asked to decide whether the electioneering communications provisions of the McCain-Feingold Act apply to “pay-per-view” movies made by non-profit organizations. However, as we all know, the court went well beyond the scope of that question, and instead decided to rule that corporations are just like people, and that their spending of money is just like our speech.

Finally, the Roberts’ court has shown a consistent lack of respect for established legal precedent or the will of Congress. In the court’s Shelby County v. Holder decision, the conservative justices on the court managed to completely ignore decades of legal precedent while essentially gutting the Voting Rights Act which had passed the Senate unanimously just the year before. And, to make matters worse, in the majority opinion in the case, Chief Justice Roberts was unable to cite any precedent or reasoning for why the court decided how it did. He just did things because he decided to.

So, it’s really no surprise that the Roberts Court has decided to hear a completely frivolous case, because the court has been pulling these kinds of tricks for years now.

In Federalist Paper No. 78, Alexander Hamilton wrote tha t, “The interpretation of the laws is the proper and peculiar province of the courts. ... Whenever a particular statute contravenes the Constitution, it will be the duty of the judicial tribunals to adhere to the latter and disregard the former.”

When our nation’s founders established the Supreme Court and the court system, they did everything in their power to create a branch of government that wouldn’t be swayed by political interests or public opinion. But, somewhere along the way between 1776 and today, the Supreme Court has lost its way.

Today, we’re left with a court that is all too comfortable overstepping its boundaries, while trying to make new laws. Our nation’s founders never intended for the Supreme Court to have as much power as it does today.

It’s time to reel in our run-away Supreme Court, and that starts by making it accountable to We the People. Congress should use their Article 3, Section 2 power to regulate the Supreme Court, and to make sure it stays within its boundaries. It’s time to say goodbye to judicial overreach once and for all.


johnbest's picture
johnbest 8 years 20 weeks ago

If the SCROTUS shoots down the subsidies for the 19 states that are run by fascists, then screw them. Don't send them any of my tax money. Aren't these the states that get more federal money than they send to Washington? Don't send them a dime of my money. Screw them!!! The rest of us will do just fine.

If the SCROTUS repeals the ACA then it will be time for a march on Washington.

ChicagoMatt 8 years 20 weeks ago

I'd just like to point out that dislike of the Supreme Court is another place where liberals and conservatives agree. Just ask Mark Levin. He wrote a whole book on the subject of judicial overreach.

Remember your dislike of the Supreme Court when they overstep their bounds again in a few years and overrule DOMA.

Both the definition of "marriage" and health insurance reform should have been left to the states to decide individually. It would keep the federal Supreme Court out of the equation. Don't like the way your state does it? It's a hell of a lot easier to change states than change the entire country.

Howard Laverne Stewart's picture
Howard Laverne ... 8 years 20 weeks ago

It seems to me that the voting machines, in the Last election, were rigged in favor of Republicans and they were unable or forgot to rig them against Liberal-progressive Laws.

Howard Laverne Stewart's picture
Howard Laverne ... 8 years 20 weeks ago

Not allowing the Internet to blossom to it's full potential is holding our country back and is out of character with our spirit.

Kend's picture
Kend 8 years 20 weeks ago

As a Canadian one thing I have always admired was how much power the States had over the Fed. But it seems that is changing down there. Up here we are going the other way. We found centralizing government doesn't work. We are to vast and have such different needs. That's why our health is delivered province by province. Doing it nationally seems to me to be too general.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 20 weeks ago

ChicagoMatt ~ I fail to see what overruling DOMA has to do with overstepping the bounds of SCOTUS. Overruling unconstitutional BS laws is exactly what SCOTUS was created to do in their charter. What Thom (we) are upset about is SCOTUS changing, or adding to existing laws, like they did in the Citizen's United Decision by declaring that corporations are people instead of ruling on the case presented; which, by the way, is all they are supposed to do under the power given to them through the Constitution. Therefore, there actions are, by definition, unconstitutional; and, when the only group appointed to determine the constitutionality of laws can't even act within the Constitution, the Constitution becomes meaningless and that group becomes an unelected oligarchical dictatorship that we are stuck with for life. That is what we are upset about.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 20 weeks ago
Quote Kend:As a Canadian one thing I have always admired was how much power the States had over the Fed.

Kend ~ You've always admired how much power the States had over the Fed? Really?How observant you are Sir. Surly you must be speaking of the Civil War. The Confederate Union sure did show those nasty Yankee boys who's boss, didn't they? That conservative Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, sure did bend over and kiss those southern States asses, didn't he? The States sure did have a field day over the Union, didn't they?

Just imagine Kend, if the States had prevailed in that war, slavery would still exist in modern day North America. Wouldn't that have been just great for everybody?

Quote Kend:That's why our health is delivered province by province. Doing it nationally seems to me to be too general.

Kend ~ My dear, dear friend. In case you haven't noticed, delivering health care State by State is exactly what Obamacare is doing. It is also, exactly why Obamacare is having so many problems. The Federal Government isn't taking a big enough central role in the service and is leaving too much up to the States. That is the exact opposite of how it is done in Canada. In your case the most of the bureaucracy of health care is taken care of centrally and not province by province. Your government collects the taxes that finance the services. They distribute the funds. They negotiate the costs with the providers. It is only the services that are delivered province to province; and, that is exactly the way it should be.

ChicagoMatt 8 years 20 weeks ago
What Thom (we) are upset about is SCOTUS changing, or adding to existing laws, like they did in the Citizen's United Decision by declaring that corporations are people instead of ruling on the case presented

Interesting that you bring this up, along with the Civil War. That happens to be the unit I am teaching at the moment. Two weeks ago, in the lead-up to this unit, we did a case study on the Dred Scott decision. That study brought up the fact that the Supreme Court did a similar overreach then - declared Dred Scott as still property of his master, but then went on to say, esentially, it was better for Scott and all blacks, even freed men, to be enslaved, for their own good. So I can see your point about going beyond the case at hand. It's been happening for a long time. I wonder how many other cases, both big and small, positive and negative this would apply to.

Have you heard about the teachers in California who are suing the union for supporting Democratic candidates? I read it was ten teachers, and this case might make it to the Supreme Court. They are basically arguing for a right to work without paying the union. Teachers there and here don't have to actually join the union, but they have to pay the dues on the assumption that all teachers want the benefits the union brings. This could be the case that finally does in public-sector unions. I wonder if Thom's talked about it yet.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 20 weeks ago

ChicagoMatt ~ No, I haven't heard about California teachers being upset about their union. I do know that teachers aren't paid what they are worth. Because of that, we just aren't attracting the quality teachers to the profession that our children deserve. I'm also fairly sure that there are some who might resent their teacher's unions financing Democratic candidates in elections. There are always a few spoiled pieces in every bag of nuts. The real question, of course, is what percentage of all teachers agree with this grievance? Is it a majority, or simply a lunatic fringe? Ten teachers hardly constitute enough of a percentage of all teachers in California to complain about anything. To be honest, it sounds like a Koch backed scheme if I've ever heard one. I don't remember Thom having a show on this topic; however, I've been out of the loop for a couple of weeks; so, I'm clueless. I can't really say anymore on the subject until I brush up on it. That will have to wait for either that SCOTUS case or for Thom to highlight it on his show. I'm about done for the evening. With that, I bid you a good night; and, a pleasant evening!

Kend's picture
Kend 8 years 20 weeks ago

DAnne my freind. Yes the fed collects taxes but not for our health care. Health care is funded and paid for by each provinces by there own taxes. Canada has a vast amount of resources that are state owned and the royalties collected pay most of the bills. Obama care uses Fed money to subsadise states doesn't it.

RFord's picture
RFord 8 years 20 weeks ago

I don't know who makes all of the rules for how the supreme court operates but I believe a new rule should be put in place that says that all supreme court decisions shall be unanimous, just like jurys have to do. Perhaps the President can do it by executive order. Such a requirement would prevent bad decisions, liberal or conservitive, from coming from the supreme court as long as there is at least one of either on the court. I would just hope that there would be at least one judge that would hold out if the rest of the court is trying to render a bad decision. No decision is better than a bad decision.

Elioflight's picture
Elioflight 8 years 20 weeks ago


The conservatives/reuthuglicans are always at the front door of determining/judging who is worthy and who is not.

geochand's picture
geochand 8 years 20 weeks ago

RFord - Not quite my friend......only in a criminal court does there have to be a unanimous verdict. I civil court the verdict is (generally) by proponderance of the evidence. If you look at history, there are comparitively very few decisions that are made with a unanimous decision. You'd probably be the first person to complain that the SC isn't getting anything done......because they can't all come to an agreement.

Our system may not be perfect, but show me one that is. I don't see people beating down the doors to get into (or sneaking into for that matter) counties like they're doing here.

UNC Tarheels's picture
UNC Tarheels 8 years 20 weeks ago

Do you really not understand? You didn't pay Thom to post on his site w/o net neutrality he would have to pay an ISP to provide faster service. Do you shop on online? How would you like to pay $50 to Amazon just to buy a book or DVD from Amazon? Without net neutrality individual sites can charge a fee that is used to pay the ISP fees. No more Facebook, no more e commerce. The progressive voices would be extinguished. I don't like a pay for play internet.

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