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- 06/28/12--13:23: _RAND PAUL: The Supr...
- 06/28/12--14:37: _Glenn Beck Is Destr...
- 06/28/12--17:28: _23 Eye-Opening Quot...
- 06/28/12--18:37: _BILL O'REILLY: 'Now...
- 06/28/12--18:50: _CNN Will Hate Obama...
- 06/29/12--02:44: _States Will Scrambl...
- 06/29/12--05:25: _The Obamacare Rulin...
- 06/29/12--05:39: _Obamacare Fixes A C...
- 06/29/12--06:48: _Check Out The New Y...
- 06/29/12--07:37: _Read The Painstakin...
- 06/29/12--08:17: _Conservative Radio ...
- 06/29/12--08:20: _WATCH: Jon Stewart ...
- 06/29/12--09:32: _This Week Could Hav...
- 06/29/12--09:48: _Three Ways Obamacar...
- 06/29/12--09:57: _Here's Why 2012 Won...
- 06/29/12--10:00: _Here Are The Real W...
- 06/29/12--10:18: _The 10 Most Crucial...
- 06/29/12--10:50: _Legal Experts Were ...
- 06/29/12--12:08: _Democrats And Repub...
- 06/29/12--13:25: _WATCH: Florida Gov....
- 06/28/12--14:37: Glenn Beck Is Destroying John Roberts Right Now
- 06/28/12--17:28: 23 Eye-Opening Quotes From The Supreme Court Obamacare Decision
- 06/28/12--18:37: BILL O'REILLY: 'Now The Government Calls The Shots'
- 06/28/12--18:50: CNN Will Hate Obama's 'Dewey Defeats Truman' iPad Photoshop Moment
- 06/29/12--02:44: States Will Scramble To Get Ready For Obamacare
- 06/29/12--05:25: The Obamacare Ruling Is A Victory For Almost All Americans
- 06/29/12--05:39: Obamacare Fixes A Core Dysfunction In The Health System
- 06/29/12--06:48: Check Out The New York Post's Hilarious Obamacare Front Cover
- 06/29/12--08:20: WATCH: Jon Stewart Mocks Obama's Supreme Court Victory Lap
- 06/29/12--09:48: Three Ways Obamacare Could Change Retail Forever
- Will the Administration thrust dozens of delayed rules onto employers with little regard for the challenges associated with such quick implementation?
- Will the Administration be emboldened by the Supreme Court’s decision and produce rules that ignore the costs and concerns employers have expressed about rigid employer-mandate rules?
- Will the Administration recognize the need to protect the crown-jewel of America’s healthcare system, employer-sponsored coverage, and preserve flexibility in the system that allows employers to design coverage options reflective of the needs of their workforce?
- 06/29/12--09:57: Here's Why 2012 Won't Be The 'Obamacare Election'
- 2006- House v. Bell: In a landmark decision that freed many innocent men, the Supreme Court ruled 5-3 (Scalia did not participate) that DNA forensic evidence found after a death penalty conviction can be used to overturn a conviction.
- 2006- Hamdan v. Rumsfeld: In a 5-3 vote (Roberts was recused because had ruled on this case in a lower court), the court ruled that the Bush administration could not prosecute detainees at Guantanamo Bay by military commissions.
- 2007- Gonzalez v. Carhart: The court upheld Congress' Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, by a 5-4 vote, a first-of-its-kind law that prohibited abortions in the second trimester.
- 2007- Massachusetts v. EPA: In a major victory for environmentalists and the green movement, the court ruled in a 5-4 vote that the EPA could regulate carbon dioxide and other emissions across the country.
- 2008- Crawford v. Marion County Election Board: Indiana's 2005 law that required all citizens to show photo identification in order to vote was ruled constitutional in a 6-3 vote.
- 2008- District of Columbia v. Heller: In a gigantic win for the pro-gun lobby, the court ruled by a 5-4 vote that that the Second Amendment allows individuals to keep guns in their homes.
- 2010- Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission: In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations were free to buy ads to influence political elections.
- 2011- Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores: In the largest civil rights suit case in history, the court voted 5-4 that women across the nation did not have enough in common to sue Wal-Mart for gender discrimination.
- 2011- Chamber of Commerce v Whiting: In a victory for advocates against illegal immigration, the court upheld, in a 5-3 vote (Justice Kagan did not participate) an Arizona law that punished business owners for knowingly hiring illegal immigrants.
- 2012- Arizona v. United States: In a case just decided, the court ruled in a 5-3 decision (Justice Elena Kagan was not involved) that major parts of Arizona's strict immigration law were not permissible because they stepped on the government's toes.
There has been no shortage of conservative outrage over the Supreme Court's decision to uphold President Obama's healthcare reform law today. But few have taken it as far as Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, a Tea Party darling and presumptive heir to the Ron Paul throne.
In a statement responding to the court's ruling, Paul summarily dismissed both the decision and the court itself, and even voiced doubts about whether or not the Supreme Court justices have the authority to rule on the Constitution.
Here's his statement:
“Just because a couple of people on the Supreme Court declare something to be ‘constitutional’ does not make it so," Paul said in the statement. "The whole thing remains unconstitutional. While the court may have erroneously come to the conclusion that the law is allowable, it certainly does nothing to make this mandate or government takeover of our health care right."
“Obamacare is wrong for Americans. It will destroy our health care system. This now means we fight every hour, every day until November to elect a new President and a new Senate to repeal Obamacare,” he continued.
The elder Paul was similarly dissatisfied with the ruling, although he stopped short of questioning the role of the judiciary and the balance of power.
Here's Congressman Paul's statement:
"I strongly disagree with today’s decision by the Supreme Court, but I am not surprised. The Court has a dismal record when it comes to protecting liberty against unconstitutional excesses by Congress.
"Today we should remember that virtually everything government does is a 'mandate.' The issue is not whether Congress can compel commerce by forcing you to buy insurance, or simply compel you to pay a tax if you don’t. The issue is that this compulsion implies the use of government force against those who refuse. The fundamental hallmark of a free society should be the rejection of force. In a free society, therefore, individuals could opt out of “Obamacare” without paying a government tribute.
"Those of us in Congress who believe in individual liberty must work tirelessly to repeal this national health care law and reduce federal involvement in healthcare generally. Obamacare can only increase third party interference in the doctor-patient relationship, increase costs, and reduce the quality of care. Only free market medicine can restore the critical independence of doctors, reduce costs through real competition and price sensitivity, and eliminate enormous paperwork burdens. Americans will opt out of Obamacare with or without Congress, but we can seize the opportunity today by crafting the legal framework to allow them to do so."
So far, Beck has alternated between outrage at Chief Justice John Roberts — whose surprise vote swung the court's opinion in favor of the Obama administration — and lament over conservative naivete about former President George W. Bush, who appointed Roberts to the Supreme Court bench.
Of course, it wouldn't be real Glenn Beck production without some theatrics.
First, this image went up on Beck's projector:
Then, even more absurdly, he shifted our attention to the "The Dread Pirate Roberts" (yes, that's a Princess Bride reference). It's unclear why he is standing in a wheelbarrow:
The Supreme Court's historic Obamacare ruling was a whopping 200 pages long.
And while we know you're all eager to dive in the behemoth document, we thought we'd do it for you.
We scoured the ruling, reading everything from the majority opinion to the dissents, to find the most interesting pieces of information that shed some light on what the justices were thinking.
When he begins the majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts makes it sound like he doesn't want the federal government to become too powerful.
But then Roberts switches gears and says he doesn't want the Supreme Court to overpower Congress.
And he pointed out that Congress passed the insurance mandate to make the rest of health reform possible.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Bill O'Reilly picked an awful week to go on vacation, but he phoned in to The O'Reilly Factor on Thursday night to discuss the Supreme Court's upholding of the Affordable Care Act with guest host Laura Ingraham.
O'Reilly urged everyone to "take a step back from emotional analysis." But then he had some strong words for what the ruling means.
"This basically says that the Supreme Court will allow the federal government to take over the health care system," O'Reilly said. "You can call it socialized medicine, you can call it whatever you want. But the government calls the shots now. The Supreme Court said that they're OK with the government running the health-care industry."
O'Reilly also had some strong words for presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney, saying he needs to establish a clear plan to overhaul the nation's health care system. He warned that Romney cannot simply run on a platform of repealing Obamacare.
"He's not going to win the presidency unless he says, here's what I'm going to do that's better," Romney said.
Watch the video below, via Mediaite:
Everyone knows the famous photo of the Chicago Tribune's front page declaring, in error, "Dewey Defeats Truman" in 1948. (The newspaper fell victim to its early deadlines and made a guess at the presidential election result at press time, damning itself to history.)
CNN's erroneous report this morning that the U.S. Supreme Court had struck down President Obama's healthcare reform -- live on air for 7 minutes, with a lower-third caption -- has spawned its own "Dewey Defeats Truman," courtesy of Gary He, a product director at Insider Images (and Photoshop,of course):
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's health care overhaul is on the way to its ultimate jury: the families, doctors, business people and state officials who'll have to grapple with the confusing details while striving to fulfill its promise.
With the Supreme Court hurdle cleared, open enrollment for millions now uninsured is scheduled to begin in just 16 months, in October 2013. Much of the health care industry is ready. People who do have insurance won't have to worry about the loss of popular new benefits, such as coverage for young adult children or improvements to Medicare's prescription plan.
And, starting in 2014, insurance companies will no longer be able to turn away people with a history of medical problems, or charge them more.
But carrying out the law will be a mad scramble for states, especially Republican-led ones where officials had hoped this day wouldn't come. And the court added a new complication by giving individual states more leeway to turn down the law's expansion of Medicaid, expected to provide coverage to about 16 million uninsured people.
After the ruling, chances of repealing the entire law appear much slimmer for Republicans, although they will again make it an election rallying cry. However, a targeted repeal strategy aimed at individual components of the law including cost controls, taxes and spending cuts, may still work.
Vicki McCuistion of Driftwood, Texas, who shuttles between two part-time jobs and is uninsured, said the Supreme Court ruling has given her new hope. Her husband Dan has back problems so bad he can't go to work some days, and with a family history of skin cancer she is worried about a mole that she hasn't been able to get checked by doctors.
"Having access to health insurance that we can actually afford would allow us to improve our lives," McCuistion said Thursday.
At the White House, Obama repeated his promise that the Affordable Care Act will both deliver health insurance and help get a handle on growing costs. But the glow of victory may be brief. Even some supporters of the law candidly admit it's only a first installment — a way to get most of the population covered before tackling costs forcefully. Wrenching choices about Medicare and Medicaid cuts could come as early as next year.
Thursday's decision moves the United States closer to other economically advanced countries that for years have guaranteed health insurance to their citizens.
The law's controversial mandate that individuals have health insurance or pay a fee — upheld by the court on Thursday — will affect relatively few people, because more than eight in 10 Americans already have coverage. But employers with 50 or more workers will face fines if they don't provide insurance for employees.
The law is expected to extend coverage to about 30 million of the estimated 50 million uninsured. Illegal immigrants will represent a large share of those still without coverage, but 90 percent of citizens and legal residents will have insurance.
The focus now quickly shifts from Washington to the states.
While health insurers, big hospitals and major employers have spent the last two years planning and carrying out the law, states are all over the lot.
Although they are expected to play a crucial role in delivering insurance to their residents, only 14 states, plus Washington D.C., have actually adopted a plan for doing so. Hoping the law would be overturned, Republican governors and legislatures have resisted setting up new insurance markets that are a linchpin of the legislation, and that could turn into a problem for the whole country.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners expects only about half the states to be ready to set up new health insurance markets, slated to open for business on Jan. 1, 2014.
If states aren't ready, the law calls for Washington to step in and run things. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says the feds are ready to do that.
State plans for the markets — called exchanges — are due to the federal government this fall. Washington will run the exchanges in states that lag behind. The new Internet-based markets are supposed to provide one-stop shopping for health insurance, steering middle-class households to private plans and low-income people to an expanded version of Medicaid, the federal-state program for the poor and disabled.
But the court added a new wrinkle, ruling that states cannot be threatened with the loss of their entire Medicaid allotments if they refuse to carry out the expansion, which is geared largely to helping uninsured low-income adults. Under the law, the federal government will pick up all of the cost for the first three years, eventually dropping to a 90 percent share.
Matt Salo, head of the National Association of Medicaid Directors, said it's too early to tell what states will do.
"This opens up what was a mandate into a state option, and states are going to have to think very, very carefully as they weigh all the political, policy and fiscal ramifications of the decision," Salo said.
States that turn down the money will still be stuck with the cost of treating uninsured patients in hospital emergency rooms. States that accept the money may be on the hook if Washington later decides to reduce the generous federal matching funds for the expansion.
"What this really means is the decisions are going to be made after the elections this year," said Wisconsin's health secretary, Dennis G. Smith, whose state has not moved to put the law in place. "This is going to go back to Congress. We had always thought (the law) was unworkable, and today's ruling proves the point even more."
Administration officials predict states will participate, even if some take time to decide. They point out it took three or four years for all states to join the original Medicaid program.
Aside from help for low-income and uninsured people, the Supreme Court decision also means an expanded safety net for all Americans. Starting in 2014, insurance companies will not be able to deny coverage for medical reasons, nor can they charge more to people with health problems. Those protections, now standard in most big-employer plans, will be available to all, including people who get laid off, or leave a corporate job to launch their own small business.
Seniors stand to receive better Medicare coverage for those with high prescription costs, and no copayments for preventive care. But hospitals, nursing homes, and many other service providers may struggle once the Medicare cuts used to finance the law really start to bite.
The health insurance industry's top lobbyist said the ruling relieved one big concern for insurers — that the mandate would be struck down, allowing people to buy coverage literally on the way to the hospital. But the companies are still worried about costs.
"Without universal participation you have no incentive to purchase coverage until you are sick, and that is not an insurance system," said Karen Ignagni, president of America's Health Insurance Plans. "Now it's time to turn all the attention toward affordability." The industry continues to fight taxes and other requirements in the law.
In contrast to the states, the nation's vast health care industry is better prepared. When the law passed in 2010, insurers, hospitals and major employers immediately went to work to carry it out. Some of the changes in the law were already being demanded by employers trying to get better health insurance value.
"The factors driving health care reform are not new, and they are not going to go away," said Dr. Toby Cosgrove, CEO of the Cleveland Clinic. "We know we have to take costs out of the system and improve quality."
Associated Press writer Jim Kuhnhenn contributed to this report.
So the Supreme Court — defying many expectations — upheld the Affordable Care Act, a k a Obamacare. There will, no doubt, be many headlines declaring this a big victory for President Obama, which it is. But the real winners are ordinary Americans — people like you.
How many people are we talking about? You might say 30 million, the number of additional people the Congressional Budget Office says will have health insurance thanks to Obamacare. But that vastly understates the true number of winners because millions of other Americans — including many who oppose the act — would have been at risk of being one of those 30 million.
The Supreme Court's lengthy decision upholding healthcare reform contains enough intricate twists and turns to fuel reams of law review analyses. But the majority opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts upholding the law's core provision, the mandate that individuals pay a tax if they lack a health policy, should clear away one major obstacle to public acceptance of the reform: doubt about its constitutionality.
There's still a lot of hard work to be done to communicate the benefits of the 2010 law, as well as how much still needs to be done to make the American way of healthcare less dysfunctional.
More media reactions:
Both the Washington Post and Poynter have obtained two internal emails from CNN higher-ups that shame the network for its initial misreport on the Supreme Court's ruling on the Affordable Care Act. The network initially reported that the Supreme Court had "killed" the individual mandate on its network, its website and its Twitter feed. It also sent out an incorrect breaking-news text.
The emails acknowledge a huge amount of fault, and also attempt to praising staffers for a job well done ... the rest of the day.
Today we failed to adhere to our own standard, namely it’s better to be right than to be first. We take mistakes seriously, especially mistakes on such important stories. We are looking into exactly what happened and we will learn from it. ...
While this may be of little solace, it is worth noting that our coverage after 10:20am was very strong. We covered the decision, the impact on the country, the impact on the presidential campaign, and the fallout. We covered it with our top reporters and analysts, with doctors, political leaders, attorneys, and most important — with ordinary citizens.
And we covered today’s Contempt of Congress proceedings exceedingly well.
The second paragraph in the excerpt is the pivot from criticism to motivation. Which was needed, as the screw up reportedly caused a rift within the newsroom, with one staffer saying it was "humiliating."
Poynter obtained an email earlier in the day from Meredith Artley, vice president and managing editor of CNN Digital. Artley lamented that the mistake had taken away from some excellent reporting the rest of the way. Here it is, in part:
Just look at our sites at this very moment – we have crafted a collection of outstanding stories that millions of people are reading and watching right now.
There are a lot of tweets, posts and pieces out there about our mistake. And more will come. Stay strong. This is the organization that has exposed and righted wrongs, that has brought knowledge and freedom to people worldwide. We made a mistake, as people and organizations sometimes do, and we swiftly and clearly corrected it.
We are not the story. The story is the story.
Fox also initially misreported that the individual mandate had been found unconstitutional, but it's not quite owning up to its mistake like CNN. Here's its statement:
We gave our viewers the news as it happened. When Justice Roberts said, and we read, that the mandate was not valid under the Commerce clause, we reported it. Bill Hemmer even added, be patient as we work through this. Then when we heard and read, that the mandate could be upheld under the government’s power to tax, we reported that as well — all within two minutes.
Right. Except the breaking ticker across the screen said: "Supreme Court Finds Health Care Individual Mandate Unconstitutional."
Here is the video of CNN's intitial reporting on the Supreme Court Decision.
Michael Savage, a right-wing radio show host, blamed Chief Justice Roberts' epilepsy medicine for his unexpected ruling in which he ended up siding with the Supreme Court's four liberal justices on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act on Thursday.
"It’s well known that Roberts, unfortunately for him, has suffered from epileptic seizures," Savage said, "Therefore, he has been on medication. Therefore, neurologists will tell you that medication used for seizure disorders, such as epilepsy, can introduce mental slowing, forgetfulness and other cognitive problems. And if you look at Roberts’ writings you can see the cognitive dissociation in what he is saying."
Roberts qualifies as an epileptic after he experienced two seizures, according to the New York Times — one in 1996 and another in 2007.
Bryan Fischer, another conservative radio host, also questioned if Roberts' epilepsy medications had anything to do with his judgment.
Roberts angered many conservatives after writing the majority opinion that upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act as a tax. But upholding it as a tax was a slap to President Barack Obama and the federal government's arguments in court.
Here's the audio of Savage's comments, via Think Progress:
Jon Stewart jeered President Barack Obama last night for gloating over the Supreme Court's ruling to uphold the Affordable Care Act, mocking the President's East Room address to the nation following the decision.
"How excited was the president? Well, he strolled down I-Killed-Bin-Laden Lane," Stewart said.
After a clip of Obama's remarks, Stewart gave his own translation:
"Not that what matters who won, but it was me. The real question tonight? How does it taste, mother f*&kers?"
Watch the entire segment below:
Politico's Ben White tweets a good 118-character recap of how Barack Obama's potentially disastrous week ended up with a bunch of victories, as we approach the four-month mark before the election:
It's a good point. In addition, Monday was a big win with the Supreme Court overturning most of the Arizona immigration law (and leaving the "papers please" provision open for future legal challenges).
Thursday, of course, brought a win as the Supreme Court upheld his signature legislative achievement. And on Friday, markets soared as the EU finally addressed some of the concerns about the shaky European economy.
Retailers said they were "dismayed" after the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare yesterday.
Even though the law's been in affect for 17 months, retailers haven't made any moves to comply with the new regulations. They say that doing so will break the bank and keep them from earning profits.
But now that it's been upheld, there are three questions that retailers will be asking, according to the Retail Industry Leader's Association blog.
RILA's Christine Pollack says:
These are big concerns for the retail industry. Pollack says that retailers fear they'll be "overregulated" and unable to provide affordable healthcare at all.
Much of this fear revolves around the "Employer Mandate Tax," which doesn't take effect until January, 2014.
Employer Mandate Tax (Jan 2014): If an employer does not offer health coverage, and at least one employee qualifies for a health tax credit, the employer must pay an additional non-deductible tax of $2000 for all full-time employees. Applies to all employers with 50 or more employees. If any employee actually receives coverage through the exchange, the penalty on the employer for that employee rises to $3000. If the employer requires a waiting period to enroll in coverage of 30-60 days, there is a $400 tax per employee ($600 if the period is 60 days or longer). Bill: PPACA; Page: 345-346
So, retailers will have make a decision. They can either eliminate employee health plans after 2012 if the penalty is actually lower than what they'd have to pay for a health insurance plan, or pay for it themselves.
Either way, there will be costs. But even if retailers thought the Supreme Court would strike it down, many of the big retailers have been planning for the worst since the health care overhaul first came up.
After the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act on Thursday, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is placing renewed emphasis on the issue of "repealing Obamacare" in the 2012 election.
But here's why it might not have much of an effect on the race between Romney and President Barack Obama: America doesn't rank it as an issue of high importance.
A new Gallup poll finds that health care down on the voter issue list of importance. Health care is No. 5 on the issue list, behind the general economy, jobs, "dissatisfaction with government" and the federal budget deficit.
Moreover, Health care ranks as the top issue for just 6 percent of respondents — well behind the 31 percent who rank the economy as their top issue.
Here's a look at how importance on the health-care issue has shifted:
The chart shows that voter concerns about healthcare peaked twice in the last 20 years, around the times that Congress has undertaken a debate on reforming the nation's health care system.
Bottom line: Repealing Obamacare will be a platform for Romney, and praising its win in the Supreme Court will be a platform for Obama. But this election will still be decided by the economy.
President Barack Obama has declared the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act a "victory for all people," the reality is a lot more complicated.
The 5-4 ruling leaves behind a trail of winners and losers in politics, media, and even on the Supreme Court itself. Going forward, the survival of Obamacare will have wide-ranging consequences for business, politics, the multibillion-dollar healthcare industry, and for the millions of Americans who will be affected by the law.
WINNER: Barack Obama
President Obama was definitely the biggest winner of the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act, the signature legislative achievement of his first term. The President staked a lot of his political capital on healthcare reform, and would have suffered a huge political blow had the Supreme Court ruled the law unconstitutional.
As Jon Stewart pointed out last night, the President and his campaign have made no effort to tone down their elation over the ruling. The campaign is now selling tee-shirts with the slogan: "Health Reform Still A BFD"
WINNER: U.S. Solicitor General Donal Verrilli
Verrilli, who took a lot of flak for his oral arguments defending the Affordable Care Act, was finally vindicated by the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the law.
CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, on the other hand, is eating crow for declaring Obamacare dead after Verrilli's arguments.
WINNER: Mitt Romney
While the ruling was a political disappointment for many Republicans, there was a silver lining for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who used the decision as a rallying cry for the GOP's conservative base,
“What the Court did not do on its last day in session, I will do on my first day if elected President of the United States," the presumptive GOP nominee said. "And that is I will act to repeal Obamacare."
The cattle call worked. By this morning, Romney had raise the Romney campaign had raised $4.5 million from more than 47,000 donors, according to a tweet from Romney's press secretary Andrea Saul.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
It is not, however, the only game-changing case he has presided over as chief justice. Here are 10 other important decisions handed down by the Roberts court:
We all knew it would be close, but we never saw this coming: The Affordable Care Act survives, but only because Justice Roberts chose to characterize the individual mandate as a tax. The 5-4 outcome isn’t a surprise, but the particular reason is a big big surprise – one that virtually no one predicted (law professors included). How could we be so right, yet so wrong?
First, the unsurprising part: The Court’s five conservative justices agreed that mandating insurance exceeds Congress’ power to regulate commerce, because uninsured people are not engaged in commerce. The four liberal justices squarely disagreed. Furthermore, based on this flaw, four of the five conservatives (all but Roberts) would have declared the entire Act unconstitutional, with no apparent qualms.
Now, the unexpected. Even though Congress invoked only its commerce power in writing the law, and President Obama went out of his way to avoid calling the individual mandate a tax, Justice Roberts, along with the Court’s four liberals, gave Congress the benefit of the doubt, ruling that the mandate can be viewed as a tax. Like a generous math teacher who gives full credit to a student who stumbles on the right answer by accident even though she completely botched the formula, the Court upheld the mandate on grounds entirely different from what Congress thought it was relying.
How surprising is that? Enough that, out of the dozen or more lower court judges to consider this argument, only one (Judge Wynn on the Fourth Circuit, in the Virginia cases) previously agreed. But now we have five Supreme Court Justices rallying around the government’s last ditch legal defense – one that it almost didn’t argue because of the potential political flak of changing positions on whether something is a tax. Thank goodness the government’s lawyers overruled its P.R. folks.
But the issue was closer than even this. If the mandate is a tax, then the government also has to deal with its own jurisdictional statute, on the books for well over a century, declaring that no one can challenge taxes until they’re assessed. If this procedural bar applied, then the entire case would be premature, leaving us all hanging in suspense for another three years. To avoid this, Justice Roberts and colleagues had to conclude that the mandate is a tax for constitutional purposes, but not for jurisdictional purposes. THAT took some fancy footwork, but these are SMART guys and gals, and so if anyone can pull off that tightrope act, they can.
Legal scholars will continue to parse the decision for weeks, months, and perhaps years, to discern all the implications for future enactments and constitutional challenges to come. For now, based on first inspection, it strikes this reader that the Affordable Care Act survived only because Justice Roberts worked hard to find the one thin line of common ground on which both he and those on the other side of the Court’s ideological divide could stand.
[Mark Hall is one of the nation's leading legal and health care policy experts, and a law professor at Wake Forest University in North Carolina.]
After the Supreme Court handed down the decision to uphold his signature legislation, President Barack Obama's account tweeted a reference to Vice President Joe Biden's famous line on the legislation:
That's a reference to Biden's hot-mic comment to Obama upon signing the Affordable Care Act into law, when he said it was a "big f***ing deal." Obama's campaign is also attempting to make money off the reference, selling "Health Reform: Still A BFD" T-shirts on its website. (The Obama campaign has been selling these since March, before the oral arguments.)
In turn, a lot of people think this is a big ... deal. For its part, The Daily Caller is currently running it as part of its top story:
The Drudge Report has sent its conservative-leaning readership to the Obama tweet, which has sparked some fiery reaction. Obama's tweet followed a pair of four-letter-filled tweets from Democratic National Committee staffers when the decision came out, one of whom tweeted — then deleted — one saying "Overheard in the office: ‘TAKE THAT MOTHERF*****S!!’"
The Republican National Committee got in on the act Thursday, too, posting this creative interpretation of Biden's comment to its Facebook page:
Around the 13-second mark, you can see Bondi saying it was overturned. Scott then called for a five-minute break in the state clemency board meeting. Around the 42-second mark, he appears to say, "Awesome," when discussing the news with Bondi.
Both CNN and Fox News flubbed the original breaking news, saying that the court had struck down the individual mandate as unconstitutional.