Ian Mylchreest at History News Network says that the dissenters turned an Alexander Hamilton quotation on its head:
Washington’s lieutenant duly makes an appearance as the judges are warming up to denounce the individual mandate as constitutional overreach because it dragoons healthy young individuals into buying health insurance they do not want.
If Congress can do that, the dissenting justices write, “then the Commerce Clause becomes a font of unlimited power, or in Hamilton’s words, “the hideous monster whose devouring jaws ... spare neither sex nor age, nor high nor low, nor sacred nor profane.”
Those are indeed the words of Alexander Hamilton, but, as they’re quoted here, it seems that he must have been warning against the ever-present tyranny of the federal government. But that was not what he was saying.
The image of the devouring monster in Federalist 33 is, in fact, Hamilton sarcastically denouncing the scare tactics of the Anti-Federalists -- the men who opposed the Constitution. Hamilton wanted to assure the voters of New York that far from the tyrannous monster they had been warned about, the broad power of taxation in the Constitution was perfectly consistent with republican government.
The relevant clauses of the Constitution, Hamilton wrote, had been “the source of much virulent invective and petulant declamation…” He castigated his political opponents who had criticized the powers the Constitution gave to the federal government “… in all the exaggerated colors of misrepresentation as the pernicious engines by which their local governments were to be destroyed and their liberties exterminated; as the hideous monster whose devouring jaws would spare neither sex nor age, nor high nor low, nor sacred nor profane.”
Hamilton did not decry the federal government as a constitutional Godzilla. He denounced the Anti-Federalists for their distortions and lies.
Conservatives who profess to revere the text and original meaning of the Constitution should consider what all the sound and fury of the Federalist Society is worth when four Supreme Court justices and the highly educated clerks who work for them all failed to recognize this quotation was a fake Alexander Hamilton of their imagination.
Or as Jefferson was reputed to have said: “Falsehood will travel a thousand miles while Truth is putting on her boots.”