Thursday, June 28, 2012

ObamaCare SCOTUS ruling round-up (UPDATED)


(please scroll to bottom of post for update)

Well, despite having some queasy feelings about it as recently as yesterday (when we put a hundy down at The Double Standard getting 5/2 odds that the mandate would be upheld) we certainly did not see this coming...

Via Sir Charles at Doo Doo Economics:

From the National Journal:

The Supreme Court upheld the health care reform law on Thursday in a ruling in which conservative Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the liberal wing and spelled out ways to keep the highly controversial law within the bounds of the Constitution. The ruling vindicates President Obama’s signature domestic policy initiative, even if it doesn’t stop the political debate over the sweeping Affordable Care Act.

The 5-4 ruling lets stand the mandate – the requirement that just about everyone carry health insurance or pay a fine. But the ruling calls the fine a tax, allowing the law to escape arguments that it violates the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.

And here we thought it was Justice Kennedy, who voted with the dissenters that would be the swing vote.

Some thoughts:

The short take-away: The Supreme Court has granted the federal government the power to do whatever the hell it wants as long as it can be called a tax. But, remember, the President, in selling the legislation insisted the penalty for not complying with the mandate was not a tax.

Remember, this guy?:

We actually thought it a penalty instead of a tax as well.

The irony, as we see it, is that ObamaCare was saved by what many on the right insisted it was all along (a tax) and which the President and the rest of the Democrats insisted that it wasn't in order to grease the legislative skids. Let's face it: Roberts bailed them out.

And now that the honor and integrity of the Supreme Court has been restored, we're curious as to what the left is going to whine about now? Oh, that's right: all that money in politics.

Our favorite moral scold, KT, responded to the ruling in precisely the manner we expected (there is much to be said for consistency):

So What's The Big Deal?

If you're hoping that 9 guys in robes are going to save you from your own feckless greed and laziness, you've got some serious problems. With the Supreme Court decision upholding ObamaCare, the culture of demanding what you have not earned rolls on.

And "lee" in the comments:

I was really hoping just five guys in robes were gonna save me from some other clowns' feckless greed and laziness. And I know in November, I will vote, and I will vote for people who CLAIM they will undo this evil, but it's Washington, and it's a monster that makes the creature in "Aliens" seem as cute as a beagle puppy eating a cupcake.

I got twenty more years before they hand me the pamphlet, "So You Want to Die and Leave More Room and All Your Limited Access to Healthcare to Someone Younger Who Deserves It More Than You, You Old Goat," before I shove off down the Soylent Green Highway....

Both valid points.

Here's Leslie at Temple of Mut:

Basically, the US Supreme Court has said: “If you like your death panel, you can keep your death panel”. I cannot understate how disappointing it is to see that Chief Justice John Roberts decided to side with the big-government oriented justices, and merely amend the poorly written law developed by both houses of Congress. However, Roberts did leave us one clue on how we citizens can still fight back, as controlling healthcare is merely a front for controlling every other aspect of our lives. His decision includes this passage:

The Framers created a Federal Government of limited powers, and assigned to this Court the duty of enforcing those limits. The Court does so today. But the Court does not express any opinion on the wisdom of the Affordable Care Act. Under the Constitution, that judgment is reserved to the people.

drozz over at The Double Standard had these thoughts:

Double Standard Industries pays Dean over at Beers With Demo 375 (100 investment + 275 payout) internet dollars. Congratulations.

Hey I correctly interpreted Kennedy's vote (who cares).

Ginsberg, like all liberal judges argues that the mandate is necessary so it's proper in her separate concurring opinion. Her opinion is garbage based on the line that the mandate "solves an economic and social problem" (see Ginsber's opinion at p.12). Bullshit, it solves an economic problem.

Another promise made by Napoleon regarding of Obamatax has been broken.
Know who loves having their taxes raised? Young adults, small businesses, the middle class. And I hope they reward Napoleon by voting in November.

Ann Althouse's opinion of the verdict "President Romney".

Snark aside, this is a huge loss. The opportunity to reign in federal power was there, and now it's gone.

Roberts drew a clear line for Congressional power under the Commerce Clause. Then gave them a loophole to get around it.

Where do we go from here? Well, I'd say the Tea Party hornet nest was just stirred. My hope is that others wake up and realize what exactly just happened.

If you've been following this blog for any length of time, you know just how we feel about this ruling. We've been covering all manner of things related to ObamaCare and this ruling is indeed hugely disappointing as we're not sure what limiting powers the federal government via Congress now has. Again, the majority logic appears to be, if you can attach a tax to it, then Congress can mandate it.
Will this now extend to GM cars and Solyndra solar panels?

And as Captain Ed over at Hot Air pointed out: Hey, Lefties, you realize that this tax, though imposed by the feds, will be going directly to the private insurance companies. Let's alter that slightly for full effect: that tax money will be lining the pockets of for-profit private health insurers. Your welcome.

Silver lining?: We didn't have the courts do our heavy lifting in the fight for freedom and liberty. No? Well, then, we suppose we've got some work to do ahead of November 6.

(UPDATE #1): B-Daddy of Liberator Today fame finds some cheer from his parsing of the decision:

But here are my reasons why this isn't the full-fledged disaster I might have thought.

1.The ruling didn't expand the power of the commerce clause to infinity. From the WSJ: "The Commerce Clause is not a general license to regulate an individual from cradle to grave, simply because he will predictably engage in particular transactions," the chief justice wrote.

2.Most conservatives had always felt that had the mandate been honestly labeled as a tax, it would have never been challenged. Even though J.E. Dyer at HotAir asks what limit there is on the power to tax, the fact is, there has never really been a limit, so the ruling changes nothing.

3.I always thought the mandate's financial penalty was too weak to force compliance.

4.The mandate has no criminal enforcement provision, including asset forfeiture in the portion of the tax code in which it resides.
5.Because the mandate is a tax, it's repeal can't be filibustered in the Senate, where the rules on filibuster do not apply to spending bills.

6.The ruling on the Medicaid portion is likely to be more substantive. From Volokh: the federal government may deny the states additional Medicaid funds if they refuse to comply with the coverage expansion requirement, but may not take away their preexisting Medicaid funds. The states may then opt out of the expanded coverage, without risk to their current Medicaid funding. In the long run, this may kill the whole scheme. I am encouraged that seven justices accepted a states' rights argument.

7.The Chief Justice worked to protect the reputation of the court. I disagree with the way he did it, but understand the concern. The court should give deference to the legislative branch. The court's failure to interfere here may buy it good will in the future with Americans less invested in right vs left politics.

8.This is likely to help Romney, who is making the argument that the only way to get rid of Obamacare is to get rid of Obama. Supposedly, $1 million has rolled in since the decision.

9.The court has ruled officially that Obama has raised taxes on the middle class.

10.Ultimately the public got what it deserves for electing Democrats in such overwhelming numbers, including the 2008 nominee, who lacked the experience to inject any leadership into this miserable bill. We are reminded of why we need a tea party movement to restore government to constitutional limits because we, the people, demand it.

The last point, is something we related in a FaceBook post (yes, we realize that FB and politics don't miss, but...) as an appeal to all our friends be they liberal, middle-of-the-road or conservative. We're all stuck with this miserable thing for the time being and we need to come to grips with the fact that this cozy, corporatist relationship that exists between the government and the health insurance companies will do anything but bend downward the cost of healthcare. If we are going to get this thing repealed, it will take people across the political spectrum to act in good faith with the knowledge that ObamaCare is not reform rather a furthering of an already miserable status quo.



K T Cat said...

Thanks for the link. Glad I didn't upset the apple cart with my take.


The thing is a travesty and gives us a couple more miles of rough terrain to traverse when we finally turn about and get back out of this $16T debt, nanny state, everything's groovy mess the way we came in.

Oh well. To me, it's a drop of water to a drowning man. At least we'll have the twisted comfort of watching Europe go through it all first.

K T Cat said...

Linked with stolen graphic.

Harrison said...

How is the 1% fine in 2014 and the 2.5% fine in 2016 a tax?

THAT'S what I'd like to know...

B-Daddy said...

Nice round up. Maybe I am an idiot, but I found a lot to cheer me up about the ruling. Sean Trende at RCP has the best take on why this might be good.

KT's quote is the best. If the masses vote themselves bread and circuses, the courts aren't going to stop the slide.

tom said...

Maybe this will be like immigration, and the Feds will actively refuse to enforce it.

drozz said...

how can a constitutional law professor not know the difference between a penalty and a tax?

either he lied, or he was a horrible professor.

Dean said...

Maybe because I am not a con law prof, I believed it to be a penalty as well. But, hey, I'll be pleased as punch to call it a tax now. That's 4 characters saved for every one of the thousands of #Obamatax tweets I'll be firing off between now and Nov. 6.

Doo Doo Econ said...

Thanks for the mention! However due to #obamacare / #obamatax, but I am concerned that all my blog readers are not getting enough jogging time.