Some conservatives have been running around saying the Obamacare decision isn't all bad. They are thrilled that Roberts got the court to go along with not regulating commerce that doesn't exist (hmmm let me think about that one).
"The power to regulate commerce presupposes the existence of commercial activity to be regulated. ... The individual mandate, however, does not regulate existing commercial activity. It instead compels individuals to become active in commerce by purchasing a product, on the ground that their failure to do so affects interstate commerce.”
Apparently Justice Roberts has stopped the expansion and abuse of the commerce clause in its tracks, to which I say "My Ass!" (you may quote me without permission).
The Commerce Clause is an enumerated power to regulate interstate commerce, but has since been interpreted as anything that effects commerce. That hasn't changed one iota. So if you're a Kansas farmer and you grow corn to feed your livestock and the stuff never leaves your farm, Ag can still regulate it. Tough noogies.
But what Roberts did do was expand another enumerated power; the General Welfare Clause.
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States;
So if I understand Roberts correctly, it's unconstitutional to regulate commerce that doesn't exist but it's ok to tax commerce that doesn't exist? Wow! That goes completely over my head. Thank God I didn't go to law school.
But I do have one question. What is all this "enumerated powers" nonsense about anyway? If Congress has an unlimited power to tax for any reason it sees fit then why didn't the Court just do away with the Constitution entirely and declare "Congress has the power to promote the general welfare" and let's be done with it?