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Dennis Lennox: The Supreme Court did its job, now it's up to the people to decide the fate of Obamacare

Dennis Lennox is a newspaper columnist for The Morning Sun, a daily newspaper in the U.S. state of Michigan. He is also a public affairs consultant, who has worked internationally and observed elections in Canada, Norway, Sweden and elsewhere. Follow Dennis on Twitter.

The ruling today by the federal Supreme Court that the law commonly known as Obamacare is constitutional and thus valid is what it is. In the wake of the high court’s ruling, commentary from across the spectrum could be seen on television, heard on the radio and read on the pages of newspapers and the updates of friends — real or virtual — on social-networking web sites. Politicians, special interests and their ilk responded too.

The left applauded the ruling as an affirmation of President Barack Obama’s landmark domestic policy program. The right chided the decision. Some extremists called for the impeachment of the chief justice, whose fifth vote decided the fate of Obamacare. A couple could be heard on one Michigan radio station calling for a new “continental congress to form a more perfect union.”

But many of these voices are missing a simple and yet fundamental point: the Supreme Court did not rule, in the words of Chief Justice John Roberts, on the “wisdom” of the president and Congress in passing Obamacare. Rather, it ruled on the legality — and in this case it decided that Obamacare was a massive tax increase imposed on the cash-strapped pockets of working families and main street businessmen.

The outcome certainly was not one that many wanted, but the court faithfully exercised its constitutional duties and came to a ruling. Most importantly, what happened with the high court’s ruling was quintessentially American.

Sure, much of the populus was disgruntled by the Supreme Court’s ruling, but such dissent was peaceful. There were no angry mobs storming up the front steps of the court’s chambers. This was the perfect example of what should happen in a republic with a foundation built upon the fundamental principle of the rule of law. 

It is now up to the people to change the law.

Though the ruling is a short term win for the President and his administration, this victory will come with a significant cost to Obama and the Democratic Party. Large swaths of Americans will be energized more so than before to achieve an outcome at the ballot box this November, when the people choose between two distinct visions for America.

On one hand, there is the President, whose faith is in government. On the other hand, there is Mitt Romney, who puts his faith in the American people. The contrast between these two gentlemen could not be more clear in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s ruling. 


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