“There will be millions of people with chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease... and as a result of the health care that they will get, they will be unshackled from the disabilities that those diseases put on them and have the opportunity to enjoy the blessings of liberty.”"Liberty" is a high abstraction. What is it about the liberty of compulsion to buy an expensive health insurance policy that Justice Kennedy is supposed to find appealing? Just because someone loves liberty doesn't mean they're going to love everything you slap a "liberty" label on!
Liptak points to the oral argument transcript where Justice Kennedy asked the SG to "identify for us some limits on the commerce clause?"
Those questions fit neatly within one strain of Justice Kennedy’s understanding of liberty, one he discussed at length last year in an opinion for a unanimous court.Obviously, that's exactly not the kind of liberty the SG was talking about.
Limiting federal power, he wrote, “protects the liberty of all persons within a state by ensuring that laws enacted in excess of delegated governmental power cannot direct or control their actions. By denying any one government complete jurisdiction over all the concerns of public life, federalism protects the liberty of the individual from arbitrary power. When government acts in excess of its lawful powers, that liberty is at stake.”
But there is another strain to Justice Kennedy’s conception of liberty, one that may help Mr. Verrilli. “When you think about liberty relative to Kennedy,” Professor [Helen J.] Knowles said, “the element most important to him will be the idea of individual responsibility. He thinks the government has the power to ensure that the responsible exercise of liberty be done in an educated manner."...Interesting and important quotes, but I don't see how they get us anywhere near connecting Kennedy's ideas about liberty to the policy of compelling the individual to take responsibility by requiring him to do one particular thing that the government has decided is the one thing that should be done.
As Ilya Shapiro wrote in The Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy in 2010, “Justice Kennedy’s jurisprudence is a constant struggle to find the right balance between liberty and responsibility.”...
In 1992, joining with Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and David H. Souter to uphold the core of the constitutional right to abortion identified in Roe v. Wade, Justice Kennedy wrote by way of explanation that “at the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life."
As long as Liptak brought up abortion. Imagine if the government claimed it was furthering liberty by requiring every pregnant woman to go forward and bear her child. Here's freedom for you: Take responsibility by doing what the majority has decided is responsible.
Or reverse that: Imagine the government deciding who was ready to bear a child and imposing a penalty on those who failed to have abortions... and imagine the government proclaiming that it was all in the name of liberty.
To say that no choice is choice. That compulsion is liberty. Freedom is slavery.