Archive for June 28, 2012
Ever since the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, “Obamacare”) individual mandate, pundits have been predicting that the mandate is dead. The remaining question would then be: will the Supreme Court find the law severable, that is, can the mandate be ruled unconstitutional but the rest of the law stands? Or does the whole thing go down because of an unacceptable mandate?
The Supreme Court finally answered today. By a five-to-four vote (Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, Kagan, and Sotomayor dissenting), the individual mandate was technically struck down as a violation of the Commerce Clause, but by a different five-to-four vote (Justices Alito, Kennedy, Scalia, and Thomas dissenting) the fine for being uninsured was not. In that regard, the Court threaded the needle, objecting to the “illegality” of being uninsured, while leaving the relevant penalty in the Act unchanged.
This decision is certainly a huge win for the Obama administration at first blush. But it may prove to be less of a win for Obama himself.
The Supreme Court is scheduled to read its last decisions of the 2011–2012 term today, starting at 10:00 am EDT. That means that sometime this morning, the world will finally have an answer on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, or “Obamacare”).
If you want to participate in the liveblog at SCOTUSblog, use this link. Amy Howe of SCOTUSblog has an excellent rundown of the arguments “in Plain English”.
Shortly after the decision is announced, we will post up an article outlining the key points in the decision. Any comments made here will be transferred to the new article, so if you want to start an argument now, or lay down a marker on the anticipated outcome, do that here.
Update 10:13 am: It looks like the PPACA was upheld in its entirety, by a 5–4 vote (Alito, Kennedy, Scalia, Thomas dissenting), with some limitations on Medicaid funding to states. Michael is working on the full article that will replace this one. Stay tuned.
- Quick Poll: What will Supreme Court Rule? (chilmarkresearch.com)
- Cloud looms over Obamacare decision (wnd.com)
- This Week’s Court Action is Just a Preview (leavenfortheloaf.com)