Saturday, June 30, 2012
Health Care Law, the Supreme Court and the Environment
Another politically charged week here in the US and as the weather heats up, so will the political rhetoric being that it is a presidential election year. The Affordable Health Care Act ("Obamacare") has survived via the Supreme Court ruling in a 5 to 4 decision upholding its constitutionality. What does this mean for America and why I am talking about this on an environmental blog? The law itself is not the issue here. The significance is the ruling. Many Americans, particularly, the liberal base have questioned the Supreme Court's activities because they have viewed it acting more of a rulemaking branch of the conservative party. Perhaps, the conservatives had said the same thing forty years ago. In fact, maybe they are saying that now. Nonetheless, in order for this democracy to function, there has to be faith in the three branches of government. Clearly, the American public's level of confidence with the other two branches, Congress and the President, is at an all time low, but to lose the faith in the Supreme Court could be cataclysmic. Perhaps, some people who are against the ruling have lost faith in the highest court of the land; however, it was Chief Justice John Roberts whose decision broke the tie brand more importantly, he wrote the decision upholding the constitutionality of the Act, specifically as it relates to mandatory coverage. Again, so what does this have to do with the environment? Well, in the near future the government will have to take action in regard to the environment that will impact many lives, which will result in many legal challenges by both the liberals and the conservatives. Therefore, it is important that Americans believe in the legal system. This means that they must accept the decision of the courts and follow the legal process as permitted under the law to challenge these decisions. However, once the highest court has made a decision or they exhausted all procedures for appealing or overturning the decision, they must abide by the decision. They do not have to agree with the decision, but they must abide by it. It is unfortunate that the people who we have elected to uphold the constitution and the laws of the land have somehow forgotten this principal at times. Again, you do not have to agree with the decision, but as a representative of the public, an elected official must uphold these principals. Without them, we do not have a democracy. Perhaps both political parties can take a look at what Chief Justice Robert did as an example. He made a decision on the law. He was doing what he swore in his oath as a supreme court justice and he did it. He did not let his personal views impact his decision. That is what Congress and the President must do. They must perform the services that they swore to when the accepted the position. Let's put all of that bipartisan personal emotional crap aside and get to work. We got a lot of issues that we need to work together to get done, especially with the changing global climate. Over the horizon I see a big storm coming and we are going to need each other to get through it. Seriously, I actually see a big storm coming from the West due to this heat wave in the East. I better turn off the computer, grab a flash light, a snickers bar and head to the basement. I just hope that my cell phone get reception in the basement because I think it might be a long night.