I am not an expert on Constitution law, so my opinion is of limited value but as you might have guessed, I will give an opinion anyway. Yesterday’s decision on the Affordable Care Act is of course now constitutional law but it is not the decision I would have preferred. The Constitution was written to limit governmental powers and the decision expands it by permitting the government to fine individuals through taxation for not buying health care. As Richard Epstein, a professor of law at New York University, writes in “A Confused Opinion”
Chief Justice Roberts has ignored this fundamental principle: If direct regulation is beyond the scope of the Commerce Clause (as he held), then taxation as an indirect route to the same regulation should be off limits as well (as he failed to hold). This is a baby that should not be split. His attempt to do so undermines his ruling, the court and the Constitution.
The Court has been swift to protect political rights but slow to protect economic rights. The two are intertwined and both deserve protection.