Chief Justice Roberts singlehandedly saves ObamaCare

The Supreme Court, by a 5-4 margin, sidesteps the Commerce Clause debate and validates the individual mandate as a constitutional exercise of Congress’ taxing power.

As a result, almost all of the act is upheld, thanks to Chief Justice Roberts siding with the majority. But by saving the law through the taxation argument, the court sidesteps endorsing an expansion of the commerce clause.

Fancy judicial footwork by the chief justice, I’d say.

The four justices in the minority wanted to toss the whole thing out, which again speaks to the role that the chief justice played. He wasn’t willing to go there — too radical an outcome for him, apparently — and he found a way to avoid it.

In fact, the deeper I read in the opinion and the dissents, the more apparent it is that Roberts undertook a major rescue operation. He was not willing to let the court take what he deemed to be a radical, even partisan course that would undermine its institutional credibility.

This ruling is as much about protecting the court’s integrity as it is about interpreting the law.

Here’s the core of what justices Scalia, Kennedy, Alito and Thomas said in dissent:

“The Act before us here exceeds federal power both in mandating the purchase of health insurance and in denying nonconsenting States all Medicaid funding. These parts of the Act are central to its design and operation, and all the Act’s other provisions would not have been enacted without them. In our view it must follow that the entire statute is inoperative.”

The court majority also endorsed language expanding Medicaid in the states, although it prevents the federal government from pulling Medicaid money as punishment for states that choose not to go along. That’s the extent of the conservative “win” in the opinion.

No wonder Scalia was in such a foul mood earlier this week. I suspect that mood is going to last a good long time.

– Jay Bookman

1,313 comments Add your comment

Finn McCool (The System Isn't Broken; It's Fixed ~ from an Occupy sign)

June 28th, 2012
10:16 am

Keep Up the Good Fight!

June 28th, 2012
10:16 am

Mixed blessings….. we still need single payor

JF McNamara

June 28th, 2012
10:16 am

Not what CNN is reporting. What gives?

USinUK - pro-gay-marriage thug and former Girl Scout

June 28th, 2012
10:18 am

can’t help it … call I can say is “heh”

Cutty

June 28th, 2012
10:18 am

Suck it Cons!!!

MiltonMan

June 28th, 2012
10:18 am

So now Jay likes the Supreme Court?

FrankLeeDarling

June 28th, 2012
10:18 am

Yes! Onward to single payer!

Adam

June 28th, 2012
10:19 am

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!

Aquagirl

June 28th, 2012
10:19 am

Imma celebrate with a manicure and a quick drive thru the pharmacy pickup in my Escalade. Right after I trade my food stamps for rimz.

USinUK - pro-gay-marriage thug and former Girl Scout

June 28th, 2012
10:19 am

… waiting for Ann Coulter to say that Roberts should be poisoned

quake

June 28th, 2012
10:19 am

Thank you to those justices that voted for healthcare. You saved lives today. Many, many lives.

Normal Free...Pro Human Rights Thug...And liking it!

June 28th, 2012
10:19 am

Well,
I never would have believed it. There IS sanity in at least one of the Justices… Thank the Great Spirit!

Gale

June 28th, 2012
10:19 am

So the mandate is constitutional as a tax? But the “tax” is paid to a private company? I am so confused.

USinUK - pro-gay-marriage thug and former Girl Scout

June 28th, 2012
10:19 am

FLD – 10:18 – word!

SheezLoiuse

June 28th, 2012
10:20 am

OBAMA CONTINUES to make his “haters” his B—–s! Come on “haters” lay it all on us!!! LOLOLOLOLOLOL!

Jay

June 28th, 2012
10:20 am

No Gale. The penalty for NOT buying it is collected as a tax.

martin the calvinist

June 28th, 2012
10:21 am

Victory for tyranny…..what else can the gov’t force on us for our own good..

PJ

June 28th, 2012
10:21 am

gm

June 28th, 2012
10:21 am

God beats satan rep party again”””””””’

A question

June 28th, 2012
10:21 am

Jay what are we gonna do with these activist judges?

FrankLeeDarling

June 28th, 2012
10:21 am

Now Romny can claim it was his idea the whole time.

Thomas Heyward Jr.

June 28th, 2012
10:21 am

Molon Labe mf’ers…………Molon Labe.

JF McNamara

June 28th, 2012
10:21 am

@Jay,

CNN initially got the story wrong. LOL. I guess they thought it wouldn’t pass.

GT

June 28th, 2012
10:22 am

Great day for America! The Supreme Court has gained tremendous creditability in two decisions this week and is truly the guardian angel of truth and justice that made this the greatest country on earth.

MoreRightthanLeft

June 28th, 2012
10:22 am

ridicoulus!! now govt owns you (us)..you idiots that are dancing in the streets….your life is as good as it will ever get! congrats!!

Adam

June 28th, 2012
10:22 am

On the Medicaid issue, a majority of the Court holds that the Medicaid expansion is constitutional but that it w/b unconstitutional for the federal government to withhold Medicaid funds for non-compliance with the expansion provisions.

MiltonMan

June 28th, 2012
10:22 am

“Suck it Cons!!!”

Yes nothing like another finely ran government program out there. The government does such a great job with Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, etc., etc.

td

June 28th, 2012
10:22 am

How many times did Obama tell us that the individual mandate was not a tax?

Now Obama and the Dems have given us the largest tax increase in the nations history.

Adam

June 28th, 2012
10:22 am

CNN puts up correction

ITS ALL BUSHS FAULT

June 28th, 2012
10:22 am

In a dramatic victory for President Barack Obama, the Supreme Court upheld the 2010 health care law Thursday, preserving Obama’s landmark legislative achievement.

A question

June 28th, 2012
10:23 am

So now the government can force somebody elses services upon someone else. I want a right to free air conditioning. My A/C unit is messing up!

John

June 28th, 2012
10:23 am

It’s a good day for millions of Americans, many of whom either won’t realize it today or will be angry about, who will have health isnurance when needed. It’s also good for the rest of us that have insurance all along and will have less need to pay for other peoples health costs. Now the US needs to truly reform the health system so that we no longer spend so much of our resources and get so little in return.

Cutty

June 28th, 2012
10:23 am

td, I report, Lil Larry, Dusty, et al should all be in padded rooms today for their own protection.

ITS ALL BUSHS FAULT

June 28th, 2012
10:23 am

Its constitutional !

Peadawg

June 28th, 2012
10:23 am

Funny how Jay’s attitude towards the supreme court changes when he agrees with the decision.

Gale

June 28th, 2012
10:23 am

Thanks Jay. I now remember predictions that many people will opt for the penalty “tax” rather than pay for insurance which they cannot afford, even with subsidies. We need single payer not the HCA.

Aquagirl

June 28th, 2012
10:24 am

what else can the gov’t force on us for our own good..

The broccoli farmers are organizing even as we speak.

PJ

June 28th, 2012
10:24 am

FrankLeeDarling @10:21 am

Very, very funny! Good one!

Adam

June 28th, 2012
10:24 am

Yes nothing like another finely ran government program out there. The government does such a great job with Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, etc., etc.

Thank you for acknowledging that, MiltonMan. That is generous of you to admit the truth and reach across the aisle. Here, how about a hug? :D

ITS ALL BUSHS FAULT

June 28th, 2012
10:24 am

Deport the GOP

ralph

June 28th, 2012
10:24 am

So, all you GOP party and tea party members, please shut the *** up, The high court has ruled, end of story.

SheezLoiuse

June 28th, 2012
10:24 am

You know… I’m still trying to wrap my mind around this whole “Obama’s is a failure, incompetent, ill-equipped, etc, etc.. ” thing. People can say what they want, the guy always seems to be THREE steps ahead of everybody else politically and policy-wise, even when he appears to be on the ropes. I think that is what pisses his detractors off so much. It’s funny!!

kimmer

June 28th, 2012
10:24 am

I guess the supremes aren’t legislating from the bench anymore huh Jay.

Kamchak ~ Thug from the Steppes

June 28th, 2012
10:24 am

Now Romny can claim it was his idea the whole time.

This ^^^^^^^^^

Adam

June 28th, 2012
10:24 am

Apologies – you can’t refuse to pay the tax; typo. The only effect of not complying with the mandate is that you pay the tax.

Bernie

June 28th, 2012
10:25 am

Mitt Romney’s Healthcare Plan……..Is Constitutional! Thank-you Mitt for the plan you gave President Obama. Leading From Behind , Again!

Finn McCool (The System Isn't Broken; It's Fixed ~ from an Occupy sign)

June 28th, 2012
10:25 am

Yea, as stated above, this is all due to Romney’s hard work.

MoreRightthanLeft

June 28th, 2012
10:25 am

Yea because this was all about your “health”….really??

Midori

June 28th, 2012
10:25 am

what else can the gov’t force on us for our own good..

The broccoli farmers are organizing even as we speak.

Aquagirl –

you ALWAYS make my day!! :)

Adam

June 28th, 2012
10:25 am

Finn: True true, Romney can take credit for all this :D

Finn McCool (The System Isn't Broken; It's Fixed ~ from an Occupy sign)

June 28th, 2012
10:25 am

Now the cons will like Obamacare – it supports Romney’s Mass time.

Taipei Personality

June 28th, 2012
10:25 am

The Tea Party is not dead. This was the last straw, and Obama will be voted out in November, along with the rest of the Dem goons. Then we will see how everything shakes out in end with ACA, I don’t necessarily trust GOP to get rid of it properly. But Obama’s days are numbered, despite what the talking heads are saying.

Adam

June 28th, 2012
10:26 am

I wonder what Bill O’Reilly, the “no spin zone” dude, will have to say about this. Oh I’m sure there wont’ be any “spin” ;)

Atlanta Mom

June 28th, 2012
10:27 am

JF
I saw the same thing on CNN. Glad you did too. Thought I was losing it.

Smoke&Mirrors

June 28th, 2012
10:27 am

So the conservative concept of using an individual mandate was legal. Interesting!

Jeffrey

June 28th, 2012
10:27 am

I said it would be upheld. Check my posts. I guess the supreme court is crazy. You never know what they’ll do.

Joseph

June 28th, 2012
10:27 am

Congrats to you libs… You’ve just implemented another tax on the American people… Not only will we have Taxmageddon in January we’ll have to pay this tax. I thought Obama hasn’t raised taxes…

A question

June 28th, 2012
10:27 am

Apologies – you can’t refuse to pay the tax; typo. The only effect of not complying with the mandate is that you pay the tax

Wanna bet?

Dekalb comments

June 28th, 2012
10:27 am

Awesome news. I was concerned the mandate would be struck down but the rest left intact. The fact there is no effective collection mechanism means that even if it is construed as a tax, the healthcare tax can be ignored by a taxpayer. The IRS is specifically prohibited from issuing any liens, levies or garnishments. Further there are no criminal penalties so no detainment or incarceration.

Kamchak ~ Thug from the Steppes

June 28th, 2012
10:28 am

The Tea Party is not dead. This was the last straw, and Obama will be voted out in November, along with the rest of the Dem goons.

Whistling past the graveyard.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hiya, Midori! :wink:

SheezLoiuse

June 28th, 2012
10:28 am

..and Wingfield hasn’t gotten his blog up yet on the topic. Jay, PLLEEEEASE look over your cubicle and poke him?? Maybe he’s over in the janitor’s closet throwing a tantrum, crying up a storm.

Just saying..

June 28th, 2012
10:28 am

martin the calvinist
June 28th, 2012
10:21 am: “Victory for tyranny…..what else can the gov’t force on us for our own good..”

I’m rooting for education…

Peadawg

June 28th, 2012
10:28 am

“But by saving the law through the taxation argument”

That kind of hurts Obama though doesn’t it? Obama said all along this was not a tax. Now it seems like he’s raising taxes on everyone b/c of the way the supreme court worded their decision.

Joseph

June 28th, 2012
10:29 am

This tax will be taken out of your tax refund… Thank goodness though we have a Republican Congress and soon to be Republican Senate and White House that will repeal this abomination…

Smoke&Mirrors

June 28th, 2012
10:29 am

Actually, the restriction of the commerce clause is probably a good thing (for both sides!). And wow, Roberts as a moderate? Whoda thunkit?

Jay

June 28th, 2012
10:29 am

by saving the law through the taxation argument, the court sidesteps endorsing an expansion of the commerce clause. Fancy judicial footwork by the chief justice, I’d say.

Jm-pass TSPLOST silly people

June 28th, 2012
10:29 am

Interesting. Well, I am a tad surprised given the oral arguments. But I’m not a paid SC prognosticator fortunately.

Should be interesting going forward.

I see the libs are enjoying the football spiking :)

Midori

June 28th, 2012
10:29 am

Joseph,

after reading your posts the past couple days, I have to say I really, really hope you get the help you so sorely need.

Try a valium.

Mary Elizabeth

June 28th, 2012
10:29 am

The Constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act has been upheld.

It is important to reflect, at this momentous time, that President Obama waged most of his political capital on this law, just as he did with his decision to risk having Osama bin Laden killed. This president has strength and moral courage, which cannot be denied

Hmmmmmmmm

June 28th, 2012
10:29 am

All you uninformed people…… You simply will be the last nail in the coffin… If we could only focus and educate ourselves to really what’s going on in this country…. But hey, we are the American Idol generation…. Who really cares… Kinda Sad.

ByteMe - Political thug

June 28th, 2012
10:29 am

The fact there is no effective collection mechanism means that even if it is construed as a tax, the healthcare tax can be ignored by a taxpayer

stating “facts” that are entirely ignoring real facts.

Brosephus™

June 28th, 2012
10:29 am

Paul

I think you called it with Chief Justice Roberts earlier this week. That one was like calling a homerun shot before the first pitch. ;)

Adam

June 28th, 2012
10:30 am

This was the last straw, and Obama will be voted out in November, along with the rest of the Dem goons.

Saved for the I Told You So thread.

Midori

June 28th, 2012
10:30 am

Joseph

June 28th, 2012
10:30 am

Keep Up the Good Fight!

June 28th, 2012
10:30 am

Hmmmm….. funny to see all the flips already and the claims of “so the cons had a great idea”. Wonder if they will lament how much money has been spent by them to fight their great ideas and cheer how Obama is a great conservative who implemented a great conservative idea…

Hold your breath….I am sure it is coming.

SheezLoiuse

June 28th, 2012
10:30 am

“This was the last straw, and Obama will be voted out in November, along with the rest of the Dem goons”

Yeah, because exposing the TRUTH (especially when you disagree with it) hurts so damned bad.

Jay

June 28th, 2012
10:30 am

Roberts found a way to have it both ways.

Stevie Ray

June 28th, 2012
10:31 am

I was certainly wrong about mandate…I reckon we will all find out together how our accessability to care and premiums for us currently insured will be impacted…Also, I’m interested to hear latest CBO update relative to our costs associated with this thing….

Jay, you still whining about “judicial activism”….?? Hope not cause now that is the domain of the Jokers on the right.

Midori

June 28th, 2012
10:31 am

Hi Bro :)

Hi Paul :)

gm

June 28th, 2012
10:31 am

For all the sick kids and single mom, who had no coverage and out of work, this shows God is bigger then satan rep party of Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, President Obama you were truly sent for this time, thank you sir””””

They BOTH suck

June 28th, 2012
10:31 am

Everyone on Fox sounds like Chris Berman @ ESPN doing his Sunday football highlights

“Stumbling, Rumbling, Fumbling……………”

Mr. Snarky

June 28th, 2012
10:31 am

Never thought I’d say this, but Thankyou Justice Roberts!
Healthcare Broccoli. Antonin Scalia was wrong.

Hmmmmmmmm

June 28th, 2012
10:31 am

and then there was Mary Elizabeth….

Strength and moral courage… Good Grief… Just get some help!

Georgia on my mind...

June 28th, 2012
10:32 am

History made today and a win for the working class people of the U.S.

Finn McCool (The System Isn't Broken; It's Fixed ~ from an Occupy sign)

June 28th, 2012
10:32 am

what else can the gov’t force on us for our own good..

celery?

Joseph

June 28th, 2012
10:32 am

Midori:

You people still don’t get it do you. Republicans will run on this tax for the November elections.. LOL… This is not a good thing for the dem party. No one will run on this on their side. I really hope you get help in understanding politics….

A question

June 28th, 2012
10:32 am

If its a tax then it is constitutional. Obama said it wasnt a tax. Think he will mention the part about raising taxes in his statement? I bet not.

ITS ALL BUSHS FAULT

June 28th, 2012
10:32 am

GOP healtcare plan, Hurry up and die…….LOSERS..

Brosephus™

June 28th, 2012
10:33 am

So the conservative concept of using an individual mandate was legal. Interesting!

Yep, although they abandoned that sommamab***h like it was on fire as soon as Obama and the Democratic Party championed it. Interesting and funny!!

USMC

June 28th, 2012
10:33 am

I wonder how this decision will effect the 2012 Election, if at all??? :-)

Steve

June 28th, 2012
10:33 am

We need single payer. The Brits love their system, so do Canadians. But at least this is a step in the right direction, and I have to say, Romney is toast now.

Midori

June 28th, 2012
10:33 am

I get it all right, Joseph.

You, sir, are a loon.

Joseph

June 28th, 2012
10:33 am

Jay:

Do you leftys now admit that it is a tax Jay… yet another implemented under the Obama regime…

A question

June 28th, 2012
10:33 am

What does this mean for freedom and liberty? More or less of it?

They BOTH suck

June 28th, 2012
10:34 am

Paul

We talked about Roberts, however I didn’t think this soon and this big

kitty

June 28th, 2012
10:34 am

We cancer surivivors thank Justice Roberts for putting his constitutional duty above his politics. This will in time enable me to retire early, work in my husband’s business and expand it thus adding jobs to the economy and get health insurance either from a high risk exchange or the market which as a two time cancer survivor was currently unavailable to me. Not surprised Scalia, his lapdog, Thomas and Alito voted the partisan way. Interested in reading Kennedy’s dissenting opinion though.

Senior Citizen Kane

June 28th, 2012
10:34 am

I suppose a conservative president and Congress could pass a Kennesaw-style law requiring us to own guns … or at least ‘taxing’ us if we didn’t.

Peadawg

June 28th, 2012
10:34 am

“Republicans will run on this tax for the November elections..”

God…never thought I’d agree w/ Joseph on anything.

Kamchak ~ Thug from the Steppes

June 28th, 2012
10:34 am

…..what else can the gov’t force on us for our own good..

Time to eat our peas.

And I’m speaking as a pea grower (purple hull and black-eyed)