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Phillip Klein | John Roberts is the person of the year

In practical terms, Roberts helped enshrine one of the most sweeping laws ever enacted, which will affect Americans in the most personal of ways. The law increases spending by $1.7 trillion over the next decade and hikes taxes by $1 trillion. It imposes a raft of new regulations on businesses and requires individuals to purchase government-approved insurance policies. And in the long run, it expedites the day when America will become indistinguishable from a European-style welfare state.

But beyond the policy implications pertaining to this particular law, Roberts’ decision to uphold the constitutionality of the law’s individual mandate, to borrow a phrase from Justice Anthony Kennedy, fundamentally changes the relationship between the individual and the federal government.


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