During his confirmation hearing, the chief justice famously described his judicial style as “minimalist.” He claimed that he would not decide more than the issue before him. He claimed that he would not use the court in an “activist” fashion that disrupts the democratic process. Here, he proved how honest he was. Sometimes, however, the court must act with determination to stop Congress from radically overstepping the boundaries of the Constitution and transforming the United States into something fundamentally different. If they don’t, who will?
And let’s not forget one last thing: the individual mandate is one of the biggest gifts, if not the biggest gift, ever given by a government to a private industry. To get the government to compel the purchase of your product is the ultimate dream of every businessman. Today, the court rubber stamps the shared complaints of the Tea Party movement and the Occupy Wall Street movement — that the government is too intertwined with big business — and emboldens future Congresses to try other crony capitalist schemes.
Trevor Burrus is a legal associate in the Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies.