The formidable Richard Epstein of the University of Chicago says it’s “intellectually shabby” for the way Roberts has to turn himself in knots trying to justify a tax on inactivity. His statement that taxing not buying health insurance is no different than taxing the buying of gasoline or earning income is absurd, according to Epstein.
Who would think the government could tax us for not buying gasoline or not earning income? Roberts insists a tax on not buying insurance is not earth shattering, but it is. Roberts insists he is a “constitutional minimalist” against judicial activism, but his decision today belies that. In order to sustain the mandate he forced himself to come up with a Constitutional concept heretofore unheard of. So much for all the nonsense about “Constitutional minimalism.” His opinion reads more like the sort of rationalization for expanding government power that used to regularly spew forth from the pen of former Justice William O. Douglas.