Generals are often accused of “fighting the last war.” After Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling upholding Obamacare, conservatives are asked to pin our hopes on the notion Chief Justice John Roberts was fighting the next war.
This is a tempting proposition. There is the fact Roberts, in the main opinion of the court, and the four dissenting justices endorsed a limit to the power Congress wields under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. As this was the key judicial theory advanced by the law’s opponents, one that sought to halt a decades-long expansion of the meaning of “regulating” interstate commerce, that is no minor feat. It could even provide the starting point one day for further rollbacks of bad Commerce Clause precedent, starting with the awful 1942 Wickard decision that found a farmer affected interstate commerce by growing his own wheat.
There is also the fact the court’s majority decided the “penalty” for non-compliance with Obamacare’s individual mandate to