Will it be Monday, Wednesday or Thursday? Whatever day, the Obama Administration is bracing for every possibility with The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) Affordable Care Act ruling on what was their signature piece of 1st term legislation. Here are a few things to look for:
1. The highly politicised right leaning (5-4) court runs the risk of destroying the legacy and legitimacy of Chief Justice John Roberts.
The Roberts Court is already on record with numerous corporation-friendly rulings that disenfranchise women and union members. If this decision is cast in the light of those and the Citizens United case, it would destroy the court for the foreseeable future.
2. I am not filled with the same doom and gloom of my left leaning colleagues.
I think both Justices Kennedy and Roberts know what is at stake with their legacy and will join the four left leaning members of the bench for a 6-3 majority decision keeping the bill intact. That will leave Scalia, Thomas and Alito as the far right fringe of the court.
Why? Roberts is a young Chief Justice and if he is on record going against Appeal decisions written by Republican-appointed lower court judges who upheld the constitutionality of the law, he runs the risk of a precedent-setting opinion that gives the GOP a short term win but could hamstring their future lawmaking ability. Kennedy is the more practical member of the right leaning wing and is often thought of as the swing vote on contentious 5-4 issues. Although oral arguments did not go well for the Obama Administration, the points of law are such that so brazen a political play would damage the court for decades to come.
Roberts is also a practical man and sees the likelihood of a single-payer system coming in and would leave the GOP with zero recourse since they previously were in favour of a mandate before the onset of ODS (Obama Derangement Syndrome) where they vote against their own interests to hurt this President.
3. The Court could strike the entire law down declaring all components unconstitutional.
This though is the least likely option. It would mean they load the deck against the GOP, stripping it of governing authority and assure that the Obama Administration would launch a blistering fight-back against an activist Supreme Court. This is precisely the game changer the left needs to fund-raise and mobilise their ground game against a very weak group of Tea Party House Incumbents. The current strategy is to keep everyone underwhelmed and hope that low-turnout favours the GOP.
4. If the Court strikes anything down, it will likely be the law’s Individual Mandate which forces every American to purchase health insurance.
The court though needs to tread carefully here because how they word their opinion (if they strike it down) will have a broad impact on the Constitution’s broader Commerce Clause. This would have far-reaching impact on each state on more than just health insurance. It is why I am of the opinion they will leave it and the bill will stand.
5. Since we are talking legacy, the 5-4 GOP appointed and controlled court has the Bush v. Gore 2000 Presidential election decision to worry about as well as backlash on a number of recent pro-business cases.
A recent poll showed a huge lack of confidence in the court as only 44% of Americans felt the court could make unbiased decisions. That represented a 23% drop in 25 years. Further, the New York Time/CBS News poll found 75% of Americans believe SCOTUS justices are influenced by their political beliefs.
And, of course, they would not be Supreme Court Justices in the first place if they were not good political foot soldiers.
So the Obama Administration braces itself for defeat and SPIN. The GOP prepares a victory dance in the hopes that this is another nail in the second term chances of President Obama.
And 52 million Americans go back to life before the ACA, without health insurance coverage.
So go ahead GOP and dance in the end zone. To those people watching without insurance, you could be dancing on your own electoral grave.
Denis G Campbell is the author of 6 books including 'Billionaire Boys Election Freak Show,' 'The Vagina Wars' & 'Egypt Unsh@ckled.' He is the editor of UK Progressive Magazine and provides commentary to the BBC, itv Al Jazeera English, CNN, MSNBC and others. His weekly 'World View with Denis Campbell' segment can be heard every Thursday on the globally syndicated The David Pakman Show. You can follow him on Twitter via @UKProgressive and on Facebook.
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