Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File, Associated Press
FILE - In this Oct. 8, 2010 file photo, Chief Justice John Roberts is seen during the group portrait at the Supreme Court Building in Washington. Breaking with the court's other conservative justices, Roberts announced the judgment that allows the law to go forward with its aim of covering more than 30 million uninsured Americans. Roberts explained at length the court's view of the mandate as a valid exercise of Congress' authority to "lay and collect taxes." The administration estimates that roughly 4 million people will pay the penalty rather than buy insurance.
Last week, the Supreme Court reiterated the constitutional responsibility of the federal government concerning immigration. In so doing, Justice Kennedy explained, "with power comes responsibility …" It is unfortunate that Kennedy states that responsibility occurs as a consequence of increased power. The proper exercise of power occurs only in service to the responsibility for which that power was intended. Ironically, Justice Roberts demonstrated this principle in issuing the Supreme Court's decision on health care. Because the Supreme Court is not responsible for taxes, they likewise have no power to do anything about this "tax."
Our government rests on the principle of the balance of powers. The key responsibilities of making, enforcing and administering our laws are divided amongst different offices. The powers afforded those offices are subservient to the responsibilities assumed by their respective roles. Indeed, the issue addressed in the Arizona immigration law was a question of one office co-opting the responsibilities and exercising the powers of another office.
The Supreme Court justices have done their part and their power can extend no further than the decision they have issued. Now it's high time that Congress exercise its power to fulfill its responsibilities. Else, what good is their power?