Thursday, July 5, 2012

Supreme Court 2011 Term End: Affordable Care Act Upheld

Thursday’s Supreme Court decision to uphold “Obamacare” (a.k.a., the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) came as a welcome surprise to many, and left others fuming. Chief Justice John Roberts, who ultimately sided with liberals on the Mandate issue, has been hailed as everything from a savior to a traitor in the big decision of whether implement a universal-like health care system in the U.S. (Forbes)

The only way Roberts could get a majority to uphold the law — and thus assign the opinion to himself, the prerogative of the Chief Justice — was to join with the liberal wing on the narrow question of whether the mandate was in fact a tax even if President Obama and Congress denied it was. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joined with him for this critical portion of the opinion.

The cobbled-together nature of the decision doesn’t diminish its sheer legal cleverness, bordering on brilliance. By upholding the law, Roberts sheltered the court from liberal criticism. At the same time he asserted at least two powerful holdings that pushed the authority of the court further than it had ever gone before. That makes Roberts the heir to the one of the first Chief Justices, John Marshall, who protected the infant court from being strangled in its crib in the early years of this country while also establishing its power to invalidate acts of Congress.

No court has gone as far as Roberts did in telling Congress the limits to what it can do under the Commerce Clause, for example. The decision isn’t necessarily law since the conservatives — Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Anthony Kennedy — refused to sign off on it. But they made the same points in their dissent, so this and future courts are likely to follow the reasoning of the majority on this question.

Roberts also went further than any previous court in finding limits to how Congress can dictate the terms of programs administered by the states. (Forbes)

Chief Justice John Roberts initially sided with the Supreme Court's four conservative justices to strike down the heart of President Obama's health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act, but later changed his position and formed an alliance with liberals to uphold the bulk of the law, according to two sources with specific knowledge of the deliberations.

Roberts then withstood a month-long, desperate campaign to bring him back to his original position, the sources said. Ironically, Justice Anthony Kennedy - believed by many conservatives to be the justice most likely to defect and vote for the law - led the effort to try to bring Roberts back to the fold. "He was relentless," one source said of Kennedy's efforts. "He was very engaged in this."

But this time, Roberts held firm. And so the conservatives handed him their own message which, as one justice put it, essentially translated into, "You're on your own." The conservatives refused to join any aspect of his opinion, including sections with which they agreed, such as his analysis imposing limits on Congress' power under the Commerce Clause, the sources said.

Instead, the four joined forces and crafted a highly unusual, unsigned joint dissent. They deliberately ignored Roberts' decision, the sources said, as if they were no longer even willing to engage with him in debate. (CBS News)

Reaction: Hospitals have cheered the opinion.

Some suspected and others confirmed that Roberts actually wrote what became the dissent before he wrote what became the opinion of the Court.  The Chief's opinion produced dissents from the left and the right.

While neither of us is happy with the concrete outcome of this case, we do not believe it was the Chief's intent to endorse something in which he does not believe. Instead, he attempted a Solomonic solution to a very thorny issue that, at least in his mind, could not produce a completely satisfactory result. He acted not for political or ideological reasons, but out of the courage of his convictions--risking the ire of friend and foe. (Paul and Rob Schenck)

The unprecedented takeover of one-sixth of our economy and the greatest loss of individual liberty that the largest number of Americans have suffered in over a century is just the tip of the iceberg. Whatever rhetorical spin one can put on Roberts' opinion is more than offset by the practical, deep, transcending, and even hidden effects of the ObamaCare ruling. (American Thinker)

In last month’s health care decision, the Court made clear that the law doesn’t survive under the Commerce Clause. Depending on commentators’ political persuasion, the fear or the hope is that this is just the first step in a new judicial campaign against federal laws of all stripes. (Forbes)

Pray that the Obamacare decision will cause a greater awareness of the importance of Americans to stand strong for our freedoms and attempts being made to force citizens to pay for the murder of innocent children's lives by the state and even by the Church via insurance premiums. Pray that the outcry from this injustice will be quickly resolved by righteous leadership.

"Before I was born the LORD called me; from my birth he has made mention of my name...and now the LORD says--he who formed me in the womb to be his servant..." (Isaiah 49:1,5)

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