Bachmann: Chief Justice John Roberts ‘Completely and Utterly Wrong’

Christopher Goins and Amanda Swysgood | July 12, 2012 | 6:34pm EDT
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( – Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.) said that Chief Justice John Roberts’ opinion that Obamacare’s individual mandate is constitutional under the taxing power of Congress is “completely and utterly wrong” and the “weakest of all the arguments that were made” in trying to defend the mandate.

The individual mandate is a fundamental aspect of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, which requires nearly all Americans to carry health insurance or pay a penalty. Chief Justice Roberts wrote that “the shared responsibility payment [individual mandate] may for constitutional purposes be considered a tax, not a penalty.”

On Capitol Hill on Wednesday, asked Rep. Bachmann: “Was Chief Justice Roberts right or wrong in ruling that the individual mandate is a tax?”

Bachmann said, “He was completely wrong, completely and utterly wrong.” further asked, “So, was Roberts right then in upholding the individual mandate as constitutional under the taxing power? And what are your thoughts about that?”

Bachmann said, “No, I don't believe that he was. And I think that it was the weakest of all of the arguments that were made.”

She continued: “Probably the greatest violation is the fact that whether it’s president Obama, Senator Reid, or former Speaker Pelosi, who all said that this is not a tax, that indicated legislative intent on the part of the Congress and the president, the chief authors of the bill.”

“Then you look at the language of the bill itself, they called this a shared responsibility fee, at no time was it denominated a tax,” said Bachmann. “It would be completely false for the chief justice to call this a tax when clearly this was the language of the law.”

Chief Justice John Roberts (AP Photo)

She further said,  “Now the effect on millions of Americans is that it is going to take a huge bite out of their income. That may be where Justice Roberts called it a tax because it is going to be very, very expensive. So, that’s the issue.”

When asked if there is anything the government can not do by threatening to tax Americans if they don’t do what the government wants, Bachmann said, “That is a concern, we have this never before seen expansionist view of the power of Congress to be able to compel Americans to purchase a product or service just because they breathe in the United States.”

“If it is called a tax, then under this interpretation of the court, then Congress could compel an American to purchase any product or service -- which effectively means government maintains a monopoly over that product or service and will then determine the price of that product or service,” said Bachmann.

“This is clearly unconstitutional,” she said. “I couldn’t disagree more with the chief justice. I’m profoundly disappointed as are millions of Americans.”

An early draft of the 2,000-plus-page health care bill. (AP Photo)

However, Bachmann said she agreed with Roberts that “it is not for the Supreme Court to undo the political decisions that were made by the people in 2008.” Additionally, Bachmann said that because the original bill did not denominate the individual mandate as a tax, the majority decision by Roberts makes the Supreme Court in this case an activist court.

“It's nothing more than them rewriting a law and upholding a law that Congress did not write,” she said.

“Chief Justice Roberts and the other four Justices are not Congress,” said Bachmann. “If they want to be Congress, go through what I go through and run for political office. And stand for office and then you can write the laws. But if you're a Supreme Court Justice, your job is not to write the laws. And that's what the problem was. They not only rewrote the individual mandate. They also rewrote the Medicaid expansion section. And clearly that's the very definition of an activist court and that’s what people are extremely upset about, as they should be, because of the separation of powers doctrine.”

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