John Yoo on John Roberts. Devastated...and Devastating
Our own John Yoo has a column in the Wall Street Journal today on Chief Justice John Robert's ObamaCare decision. Are we conservatives to take comfort in it? Does it represent, as Ricochet's Paul Rahe hopes, an act of cunning, or, as George Will argues, a "substantial victory," or, as Charles Krauthammer writes, "one of the great constitutional finesses of all time"?
In John Yoo's view, not a chance.
Justice Roberts's opinion provides a constitutional road map for architects of the next great expansion of the welfare state. Congress may not be able to directly force us to buy electric cars, eat organic kale, or replace oil heaters with solar panels. But if it enforces the mandates with a financial penalty then suddenly, thanks to Justice Roberts's tortured reasoning in Sebelius, the mandate is transformed into a constitutional exercise of Congress's power to tax.
Why did the Chief do what he did? Here John Yoo presents the most damning single sentence about the matter that I myself have seen anywhere:
Justice Roberts...may have sacrificed the Constitution's last remaining limits on federal power for very little—a little peace and quiet from attacks during a presidential election year.
Just this once, I wish I could spot a hole in John's argument.
But I can't. Woe and alas, but I can't.