In a 5 - 4 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) allowed Obamacare to stand with a few provisos. John Roberts joined the liberal wing of the court to affirm that Obamacare is indeed constitutional. The decision was a good one for reasons that I'll outline at bit later.
The five justices correctly noted that the President's healthcare legislation is a tax rather than mandate. Since the President's own lawyers made exactly that argument, I suspect that he'll embrace the idea (or maybe he won't, we'll see). Unfortunately, the healthcare tax is very large and is levied primarily on the middle and lower middle class, but no matter, the law stands. In the Presdient's world, "social justice" trumps an increased burden on working people every time. The justices also modified the law's insistence that states take on an increasing burden of medicaid costs.
I believe that the decision was just and appropriate for the following reasons:
- In general, the Court should not negate major legislation unless massive constitutional problems exist. In this case, the Obamacare mandate was unconstitutional, but relabeling it for what it actually was—a tax—solved that problem. The President was dishonest when he tried to sell his legislation, refusing to suggest that it levied a tax on middle and lower middle class people. The Court corrected him.
- Because the liberal wing of the court prevailed, it will be difficult for either the President or his supporters to vilify SCOTUS. This morning, before the ruling was announced, Michael Tomasky wrote this about the court:
... they are politicians in robes (with the partial exception of Kennedy); as such, I believe that they will behave here like politicians, and they will render the decision that will inflict the maximum possible political damage on Obama and the Democrats.I suspect that hundreds of other Left-leaning pundits effectively had the same words written and ready for publication. Now that the Liberal wing of SCOTUS prevailed, I doubt we'll read much about the court "inflict[ing] the maximum possible political damage on Obama."
- Obamacare is now in play for the 2012 election. The American people must decide whether this legislation is a wonderful accomplishment that will save money, provide quality healthcare to all, and reduce the deficit or (to quote my last post)whether it's "poorly constructed, unclear, exorbitantly expensive, and as partisan as any major legislation passed in the last 70 years." This decision will occur at the polling place—as it should.