Friday, June 29, 2012

Obamacare Survives - and So Does the Supreme Court!

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

I awoke this morning in the Far East fully expecting to hear that the rabid, right-wing partisans trying to pose as impartial jurists on the Supreme Court had ripped the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) to shreds and pissed on the remnants.  Imagine my absolute euphoria when Armed Forces Radio told me that the law had been preserved in its entirety.
It was suddenly a glorious morning!
I am not the only one who was surprised by the ruling.  The right has been almost giddy the past few weeks in anticipation of a huge political embarrassment for the Obama administration.  Of course they knew that there were political risks with a small group of judicial activists overturning such a significant piece of social legislation.  Orange John Boehner had cautioned Republican House members not to go too overboard with celebrations “if” the act was ruled unconstitutional.  And Fox Noise has barely been able to contain its glee (deliberate word choice) as to what they felt sure would be Obama getting his comeuppance.
The swing vote had been expected to be Justice Anthony Kennedy, a Republican appointed by Reagan.  There seemed to be little doubt that the other four Republican appointees, Justices Alito, Scalia, and Thomas – and Chief Justice Roberts, would vote to severely wound or perhaps kill the legislation.  But Kennedy voted with Alito, Scalia, and Thomas to throw out the Affordable Care Act in its entirety.    Shockingly, it was Chief Justice Roberts who swung the vote in favor of ruling the act as constitutional and thus saving the signature piece of legislation of President Obama’s first term.
There has been a lot of chatter on the political blogs today suggesting that Roberts originally voted against supporting the Affordable Care Act, but had a last-minute change-of-heart when he felt that the decision would be seen as another thinly-veiled political attack by partisan jurists – in the spirit of Bush v. Gore and Citizens United.  At some point, it was argued, Roberts made a decision that he wanted the Court that bears his name to be seen as at least somewhat judicial.
Good for you,   Mr. Chief Justice!
Former Swiss citizen Michele Bachmann said that this decision was good for the knuckleheads because it will fire up the conservative base and help to win the election for Romney.  It has certainly angered a segment of the Republican Party, particularly the ones whose tin foil hats are a bit on the tight side anyway, but their wrath is nothing compared to the firestorm that would have ensued if the Supreme Court had put the insurance companies back in total charge of deciding our health care options and benefits.  The President had openly implied that a vote against the Affordable Care Act would serve to de-legitimize the Court in the eyes of the public.
I suspect that Chief Justice Roberts had a sense of what the future would be in the face of a purely political decision on the part of his Court – and at the last minute he opted for judicial restraint and cloaking the Supremes with a modicum of dignity as a legitimate arbiter of the law.
Again, good for you, Mr. Chief Justice.

1 comment:

Don said...

My favorite part of the big day came when CNN and FOX News both misread the decision and came on the air with the "news" that Obamacare had been overturned.
Although CNN quickly and publicly recanted, FOX contented itself with a quick scrawl of correction at the bottom of the screen.