The System, The Verdict, The Response – Supreme Court Ruling on Health Care Law

The Supreme Court rules this week on the Affordable Care Act in what many believe will be, at the very least, the striking down of the individual mandate provision of the law. Some thoughts…

The SystemJames Fallows

You can try this at home. Pick a country and describe a sequence in which:

  • First, the presidential election is decided by five people, who don’t even try to explain their choice in normal legal terms.
  • Then the beneficiary of that decision appoints the next two members of the court, who present themselves for consideration as restrained, humble figures who care only about law rather than ideology.
  • Once on the bench, for life, those two actively second-guess and re-do existing law, to advance the interests of the party that appointed them.
  • Meanwhile their party’s representatives in the Senate abuse procedural rules to an extent never previously seen to block legislation — and appointments, especially to the courts.
  • And, when a major piece of legislation gets through, the party’s majority on the Supreme Court prepares to negate it — even though the details of the plan were originally Republican proposals and even though the party’s presidential nominee endorsed these concepts only a few years ago.

How would you describe a democracy where power was being shifted that way?

‘Dysfunctional’ comes to mind…as does ‘corrupted’.

The Verdict – Bob Drummond

The U.S. Supreme Court should uphold a law requiring most Americans to have health insurance if the justices follow legal precedent, according to 19 of 21 constitutional law professors who ventured an opinion on the most-anticipated ruling in years.

Only eight of them predicted the court would do so.

“The precedent makes this a very easy case,” said Christina Whitman, a University of Michigan law professor. “But the oral argument indicated that the more conservative justices are striving to find a way to strike down the mandate.”

A fitting followup after they struck down campaign financing legislation and opened the doors to a handful of billionaires to purchase control of the White House and Congress.

The Obama Response To A Negative VerdictMichael Tomasky

Almost never before in American history has a Supreme Court taken a law duly passed by the people’s representatives and in just two years’ time invalidated it. If that isn’t legislating from the bench, what is? Mr. Cool needs to get Hot. Against unanimous and ferocious opposition, and in the face of blatant lies about what this bill would and would not do, he and the Democrats came up with a way for people with cancer and diabetes and what have you to get the treatment they need and not be either turned away or gouged. He’s proud of that, he ought to say, and by God, he’s going to fight for it. That provision of the law is wildly popular—85 percent supported that, in a late-March New York Times survey. If you can’t play offense with 85 percent of the people behind you, I give up.

In sum, the Democrats should see an adverse decision as a chance to put the other guys—the Republicans in Congress, Romney, and the court’s ideological majority—on the defensive. It is what Republicans would do; they’d bay endlessly about an “out of control” court and all the rest. It’s one of the key psychological differences between conservatives and liberals. When conservatives suffer a political setback, they prowl the terrain like lions, looking for a few necks to bite. When liberals suffer one, they ball up like kittens and ask themselves, “Oh, gee, what did we do wrong?”

Unfortunately, regardless of the President’s response, true health care reform will never become a reality for as long as Republicans have a say about it in Congress…and in the courts. A Romney victory in November puts him in place to appoint the next Supreme Court justice ensuring that United Citizens and (likely) Affordable Care Act type decisions will be the norm for the next 20 years.


(The Supreme Court building source photograph is a Creative Commons licensed image from photographer Matt Wade.)

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8 thoughts on “The System, The Verdict, The Response – Supreme Court Ruling on Health Care Law

  1. One more conservative judge on the court and we’re going to go backwards 100 years — we’re pushing 50 years now.

    Our Republic is dying before our very eyes. Fascism has come to America wrapped in a flag of “freedom.”

  2. Clicked on to one of my favorites websites – only to find a box called a “tracking site meter” asking for some identification. Just wondering what that was about.

  3. I’ve also seen the popup from sitemeter. It appears that it’s happening on a number of websites and is probably just a bug with the sitemeter code. Site Meter is a tool many sites use to get analytical data on page hits and the like.

    Just hit the Cancel button should it pop up again. I’ll keep on digging and post any relevant information.

    In my research on the problem, I came across the following from someone with a sense of humor I can appreciate.

    I just entered all my bank account details and it looks like I’m about to inherit $230K from a Nigerian cousin I never knew I had.


  4. Most Funny ! Thanks for the info Mario – guess I’m just paranoid trying to keep up with all of Facebook’s privacy changes ! lol !
    Privacy seems to be a thing of the past, unfortunately ~

  5. I found an interesting analysis of a questionnaire that was sent to 131 professors at the top law schools in U.S. on the Health Care issue and the impending ruling by SCOTUS. HERE

  6. The U.S. Supreme Court should uphold a law requiring most Americans to have health insurance if the justices follow legal precedent, according to 19 of 21 constitutional law professors who ventured an opinion on the most-anticipated ruling in years.

  7. Considering John Adams mandated insurance for sailors, so they could have coverage, I think we’re pretty covered for the “mandate” issue.

    Unfortunately, the right (of course) misreports this bit of history they claim we dislike (what we don’t like is the distorted history they seem to have no problem in creating) – see here I wanted to have my details correct (I had originally remembered it as Madison, not Adams) and came across this site. You’ll note he claims it was only an employer mandate – not one mandated against the sailor himself.

    Apparently, he doesn’t read what he posts:

    “…and shall pay, to the said collector, at the rate of twenty cents per month for every seaman so employed ; which sum he is hereby authorized to retain out of the wages of such seamen.”

    He claims, “And thus we see that this law was an employer mandate, not a personal mandate. The law required employers of the sailors to pay the tax, not the sailor’s themselves.”

    I guess he missed the part about it being ‘retained out of the wage of such seamen.” And apparently no one who read it noticed either.

    It was a payroll tax was placed on the sailor’s wages to pay for his insurance premium. And they created the, Marine Hospital Service which has morphed into the Public Health Service of today. OMG Adams was a S O C I A L I S T!!!

    The government can enact a mandatory selective service system so that they can press you into the military where you might die and they’re griping about the possibility of getting health care!

    I hope they never have to reenact the draft – apparently the right won’t show up because it’s a “mandate.”

    That said – I’ll be surprised if SCOTUS follows legal precedent.

  8. I agree with Ms. McGuinness,

    In 1798, John Adams signed the very first health care mandate into law.

    The law required sailors to pay a tax to the United States government which in turn would provide medical care to them.

    The next President, Thomas Jefferson, apparently approved of this program as well, since he never challenged it, nor did he ever try to repeal it.

    According to Republican logic, Adams and Jefferson must have been a couple big government liberals.

    Of course none of this would matter to Republicans because they are totally obsessed with destroying this President, more than they are about paying attention to the words of the Founding Fathers, the Constitution OR the General Welfare of over 300 Million Americans.

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