“This is not the country the Framers of our Constitution envisioned,” Roberts wrote.
Joined by the conservatives, he also rejected the argument that requiring health-care coverage was different, because everyone at some point will require medical care.
“The Commerce Clause is not a general license to regulate an individual from cradle to grave, simply because he will predictably engage in particular transactions,” he wrote.
But Roberts said it is the court’s duty to look for ways in which acts of Congress can be upheld, and he found it in Congress’s taxing power, a point pressed during oral arguments by Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr.
Roberts acknowledged that the law refers to the “shared responsibility payment” due on a person’s 2014 tax returns if he or she does not obtain health insurance as a penalty, not a tax. But he noted that it was calculated as a portion of a person’s income and due to the Internal Revenue Service.