Antigovernment activists and far-right extremists are waxing hysterical over yesterday’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold President Obama’s signature achievement, the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Mike Vanderboegh, an antigovernment activist who in 2010 reacted to the imminent passage of the health care law by calling on Americans to break the windows of local Democratic Party offices around the country, predicted on his blog that the court’s ruling would result in violence.
“The health care law carries … the hard steel fist of government violence at the center,” Vanderboegh wrote, “If we refuse to obey, we will be fined. If we refuse to pay the fine, we will in time be jailed. If we refuse to report meekly to jail, we will be sent for by armed men. And if we refuse their violent invitation at the doorsteps of our own homes we will be killed – unless we kill them first.
“It is Nancy Pelosi who first plunked the threat of violence on the table like Goering reaching for his revolver. How should principled, free people react to such threats? I am on record as advocating the right of defensive violence against a tyrannical regime. The Founders would agree. If someone on the street threatens to break into my house and steal my property or kill me, and I tell them, ‘If you do this, you will be killed,’ am I the violent one? Or is it merely good manners to warn the miscreant of the probable outcome?”
Also invoking the specter of violence was former Michigan GOP spokesman Matt Davis, who wondered in an E-mail to fellow conservatives first reported by Michigan Capitol Confidential, “If the Supreme Court's decision Thursday paves the way for unprecedented intrusion into personal decisions, than has the Republic all but ceased to exist? If so, then is armed rebellion today justified? God willing, this oppression will be lifted and America free again before the first shot is fired.”
Meanwhile, Michael Savage, a viciously anti-gay and anti-Semitic radio host, told listeners that Chief Justice John Roberts ruled in favor of the health care law because he (allegedly) takes anti-seizure medication.
“I’m going to tell you something that you’re not going to hear anywhere else, that you must pay attention to,” Savage said. “It’s well known that Roberts, unfortunately for him, has suffered from epileptic seizures. Therefore he has been on medication.” Savage claimed a neurologist told him the medication could affect Roberts' cognition.
“[I]f you look at Roberts’ writings you can see the cognitive disassociation in what he is saying,” Savage said.
Savage also declared the ruling, “a tipping point” in the “dawning of red America.”
“We are now becoming Venezuela and on the way to becoming Castro’s Cuba,” he opined. “America is over as you know it.”
Bryan Fischer, the American Family Association’s gay-hating spokesman – who earlier this week tweeted that Justice Roberts had gone “completely off-reservation” with a ruling that struck down much of Arizona’s draconian anti-immigration law – also weighed in.
“Constitution is no longer the supreme law of the land – black robed tyrants are. Constitution is now just a piece of paper,” Fischer tweeted.
In another tweet, Fischer wrote, “We are watching our constitutional republic reduced to rubble right before our very eyes.”
Blogger Alan Caruba compared the ruling to Germany’s 1935 Nuremberg laws, which among other things stripped Jews of citizenship and outlawed intermarriage between Jews and people with “German or related blood.”
“What does that have to do with Obamacare?” Caruba asked in a column on Renew America, an ultraconservative blog with “Patriot” leanings. “Americans who could rely on the political system to moderate and even reduce taxation now know that the December 28, 2012, Supreme Court has ruled that Congress may tax anything, including behavior. … Obamacare has now transformed the United States into a police state.”
Reactions were similar at the Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based outfit that made national news last month when, as part of its campaign against the “fringe theory” of global warming, it sponsored a billboard in Illinois featuring a photo of “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski that read “I still believe in global warming. Do you?”
"Today's decision will go down in infamy,” said Maureen Martin, Heartland Institute senior fellow for legal affairs. “It marks the moment when we all lost our freedom because the Supreme Court drew a road map to guide those dedicated to imposing a totalitarian, statist government on the American people.”
Peter Ferrara, also a senior fellow, agreed. “The President intimidated Chief Justice John Roberts like Hugo Chavez intimidates the Venezuelan Supreme Court. The rule of law is now dead.”
Elsewhere, Larry Klayman, an attorney who runs the watchdog groups Freedom Watch and Judicial Watch and who recently represented Joseph Farah, editor of the conspiracist online publication WorldNetDaily, in a failed lawsuit against Esquire magazine, declared his intention to empanel a “citizens grand jury” to indict justices Roberts and Elena Kagan for supposedly violating their oaths of office.
Klayman said in a press release that his power to convene this body stems from the Fifth Amendment, which, according to him, was designed to “hold corrupt judges and politicians accountable under criminal laws, thereby hoping to avoid another revolution as occurred in 1776.”
Elsewhere, using language and logic that echoes that of the antigovernment “sovereign citizens” movement, Klayman has contended that citizens’ grand juries are a “common law” right that predates the Magna Carta. These days, of course, real grand juries are convened only by prosecutors officially empowered to do so. Members of the Patriot movement, who believe themselves exempt from the confines of established legal procedure, use these pseudo-legal “common law courts” to indict “enemies” and adjudicate cases among themselves.
In an online article for The New American, a magazine produced by the far-right conspiracists at the John Birch Society, Joe Wolverton II declared the “bleak dawn of a brave new world in which the federal government cannot be checked in its march toward totalitarianism” and called on states to “nullify” the law.
Nullification is the notion that a state has the right to invalidate and disregard any federal law. Relying on a spurious interpretation of the Tenth Amendment, which reserves to the states and the people any power not explicitly given to the federal government, nullifiers ignore a long history of Supreme Court rulings defining federal authority. The courts have consistently rejected nullification as unconstitutional.
Also urging states to nullify the ruling was the Tenth Amendment Center’s Michael Boldin, a radical states-rights activist. “Today’s ruling is an assumption of undelegated powers, and evil is advancing,” Boldin wrote, pressing followers to lobby their state legislators to introduce a piece of model legislation the TAC calls the “Federal Health Care Nullification Act.”
Though he did not explicitly reference nullification, U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), a Tea Party favorite, also called on states to refuse to implement the ACA. “Americans have loudly rejected this federal takeover of health care, and governors should join with the people and reject its implementation,” he said.
Meanwhile, John Velleco of Gun Owners of America (GOA), a far-right outfit that has been described as “eight lanes to the right” of the National Rifle Association, warned via press release that the Court’s decision means that some Americans will lose their guns. Explaining that the law requires medical information to be entered into a national database, Velleco said, “Centralizing these medical records will allow the FBI to troll a list of Americans for ailments such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to deny them their gun rights."