Predictions 2012: I Was Right, Alas

Each year the Center for Bioethics and Culture asks me to predict the future year in bioethics, and each year, I generally nail it.  Last year was one of my best.  And that’s too bad, because last year was overwhelmingly awful for good policy and ethics.

For example, I was really right about the Supreme Court Obamacare ruling–and not just the “what” but the “why:”  From, “Predictions 2012: I Was So Right:

“Prediction 2: Obamacare’s Individual Mandate Will Be Declared Constitutional:” I really nailed this one: The Supreme Court, in an utterly incoherent 5-4 decision, declared the ACA to constitutional. Why do I say “incoherent?”

  • First, Chief Justice John Roberts ruled that the individual mandate, requiring all to buy health insurance or face a penalty, was not a tax. That ruling allowed the case to proceed to ultimate resolution.

  • Then, he ruled the ACA violated the Commerce Clause by regulating economic inactivity. That should have been the ball game.

  • But in an act of audacious judicial activism, as if by magic, the “not a tax” was transformed back into a tax for purposes of finding the law valid.

  • Et viola: An unconstitutional law was able to be declared constitutional by being both not a tax and a tax at the same time. Like I said: incoherent.

I explained last year why the Court would protect the validity of the ACA regardless of the legal merits:

I believe the majority of the Supreme Court will rule that Obamacare’s purposes are laudable, that universal coverage is equitable and necessary for the country’s future, and that since the mandate is a necessary element of making the new law work, it is constitutional. That may sound like bootstrapping, but there it is.

And so it came to pass. I scare myself sometimes.

If you want to see what else I predicted, here is the link to the original article.  And if you want to see how I did overall, hit the link before the quote.

Wesley J. Smith — Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism.

Most Popular

Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More