06.29.2012 1

The death of the Court and the protection of individual liberty

NRD Editor’s Note: This column originally appeared at TheHill.com.

Justices of the Supreme Court of the United StatesBy Rick Manning — The Supreme Court is no longer relevant.

Long viewed as the last bastion protecting the individual from the rapacious powers of the federal government, SCOTUS, in the name of Chief Justice John Roberts, declared themselves meaningless.

If government can compel individuals to purchase a private product under the guise of its taxing authority, even when the government itself argued that the individual mandate was not a tax, then the government can compel individuals to do anything they choose.

Between the egregious expansion of the Commerce Clause to include virtually every activity that was bestowed on the nation in 1942, and this Roberts ACA decision, SCOTUS now allows the federal government absolute power over every aspect of individual life.

Since compelling activity that the government deems desirable is allowed under the taxing powers, one has to wonder: What’s next?

Perhaps a 100 percent tax on all oil revenues to pay for a million more Solyndras?

Or how about a 100 percent tax on the income of everyone who works in certain industries that have fallen out of favor?

Maybe the court will rule that everyone should be compelled to eat broccoli because the government thinks it is good for them, and failure to clean your plate is a taxable activity?

The truth is that the logical conclusion of Roberts’ decision is that all of the above, and more, are allowed.

With an unlimited ability to coerce activity through the taxation power, Roberts has shredded any pretense of a federal government constrained by the Constitution from imposing its will on the individual.

Adding in the Supremes’ incredible earlier decision to allow the air that we breathe out of our lungs to be called a pollutant, effectively giving the EPA absolute regulatory power over the private sector, this court will go down as having driven the last stake in the heart of the Framers’ idea that there are constitutional protections against the power of government.

It is a sad day for our nation, as we have turned a corner that cannot be unturned. Regardless of who takes power in January 2013, America has changed forever, and Obama will have delivered on that half of his promise, dashing the hopes for liberty and prosperity in the former land of the free.

Rick Manning is the Director of Communications for Americans for Limited Government.

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