More than a few of my friends on the political right have taken to comparing the Supreme Court’s decision on the individual health insurance mandate to the infamous Dred Scott decision that declared that blacks were not citizens and therefore couldn’t ever have full legal rights. Here’s direct mail/movement guru Richard Viguerie and here’s an already infamous tweet from Breitbart’s Ben Schapiro.

I’m personally supportive of the Court’s decision even though I have very serious questions about Obamacare: quite simply, as a conservative, I don’t like the idea of courts striking down things that legislatures pass when they can find any way to rule them constitutional. The Supreme Court exists (mostly) to decide on the Constitution, not on what constitutes good or bad policies.

That said, there are at least some thoughtful conservatives–my former boss Ed Meese amongst them–who offer reasoned arguments as to why the court got this one wrong. But Dred Scott? That ruling said, in essence “if you have ancestors from a certain part of the world, we don’t think you’re really human and you have no or limited rights under the Constitution.” That’s a very real abridgment of liberty.

This ruling on Obamacare says, basically, “you have to pay your taxes even if the government doesn’t want to call them taxes.” To me, the first is (obviously) an outrage that caused the Civil War. The second is something that’s part and parcel of living in a democracy. Even if one really thinks that the decision is the end of liberty or anything like that, it’s hard to see why a party that’s already having a lot of trouble getting non-white voters should compare an insurance-connected tax to slavery. It’s just beyond the pale and likely to cause problems for the GOP down the road.

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