Monday, November 21, 2011

A Biased Analysis of the Affordable Care Act and The Supreme Court


Sometime around June or July, The Supreme Court of the United States will rule on the constitutionality of President Obama’s signature1st term legislative achievement: The Affordable Care Act.  The arguments will center on whether the individual mandate is constitutional under the ‘Commerce Clause’, (Article I, Section 8, Clause 3), that states the United States Congress has the power: "To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes."  Opponents will say that allowing the federal government to mandate buying insurance will establish a precedent that the government could mandate that everybody must eat Brussels Sprouts.  Defenders say that there is sufficient precedent in place as they point to Medicare and Social Security payroll deductions.  What is unquestioned is without the mandate, the entire law collapses.  What about the political aspects?  If the Court rules the law is constitutional, it’s hard to see how Obama doesn’t benefit and the opposite is true should the court rule against the law.  Yet the confident Obama administration could have let the multitude of legal challenges make their way through the courts before arriving at SCOTUS in 2013.  Is it a sign of confidence or hubris?  What would have happened if the Obama administration had not allowed the fast track to occur AND he loses the 2012 election?  Would the Republican administration, say Romney’s, not argue the case?  Also, the Supreme Court has asked for arguments on the mandate, severability (if the mandate is ruled unconstitutional can the law still stand), and jurisdiction. 
Prediction: The Supreme Court rules 6-3 in favor of the law, though Roberts sides with the majority to write the opinion and to make sure the limits of the Commerce Clause are spelled out.  I expect Alito, Scalia, and Thomas to be in the minority.

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