The dissent acknowledges that if an ambiguous law can be read in a way that renders it constitutional, it should be. It distinguishes, though, between construing a law charitably and rewriting it. The latter is what Chief Justice John Roberts has done. If Roberts believes that this tactic avoids damage to the Constitution because it does not stretch the Commerce Clause to justify a mandate, he is mistaken. The Constitution does not give the Court the power to rewrite statutes, and Roberts and his colleagues have therefore done violence to it. If the law has been rendered less constitutionally obnoxious, the Court has rendered itself more so. Chief Justice Roberts cannot justly take pride in this legacy.
The Court may not have been on our side today, but the math still is.
In his Obamacare decision, Roberts the umpire blinked. By issuing a decision that forestalled the tsunami of criticism that would have come his way had he struck down the law (as an activist, a partisan, and an altogether rotten human being), Roberts effectively rewrote the constitutionally problematic portions of it. He overstepped his bounds. The umpire called a balk, but gave the pitcher a do-over. The ref called a foul, but didn’t interrupt the play.As a result, there’s Obamacare as passed by Congress. Then there’s Obamacare as passed by the Supreme Court.