Maybe I'm overly pessimistic about Obamacare's fate, but Ezra Klein believes the Supreme Court simply wouldn't use the Halbig case to gut the law, and his argument strikes me as exceedingly naive:
For Halbig to unwind Obamacare the Supreme Court would ultimately have to rule in the plaintiff's favor. And they're not going to do that. By the time SCOTUS even could rule on Halbig the law will have been in place for years. The Court simply isn't going to rip insurance from tens of millions of people due to an uncharitable interpretation of congressional grammar.But Republican governors, especially from the tea party class of 2010, have been harming large numbers of people quite openly -- depriving unionized workers of collective bargaining rights, curtailing voting rights, dismantling democratically elected local governments in Michigan, curbing reproductive rights ... and, apart from Pennsylvania's Tom Corbett, they all have a shot at reelection. Voters who aren't specifically targeted by these governors sure don't seem to be displaying much empathy for those who are.
For five unelected, Republican-appointed judges to cause that much disruption and pain would put the Court at the center of national politics in 2015 and beyond. It would be a disaster for the institution. Imagine when the first articles come out recounting the story of someone who lost their insurance due to the SCOTUS ruling and then died because they couldn't afford their diabetes or cancer treatment. Imagine when every single Democrat who had any hand at all in authoring the law says the Court is completely wrong about what the law meant. Imagine when every single Democrat runs against the Court.
A lot of the people harmed by a Supreme Court evisceration of Obamacare will be Democratic voters who wouldn't have voted GOP anyway. Others will be the same people who were subjects of the early Obamacare scare stories -- people who had pre-Obamacare insurance and didn't have their policies renewed. If they replaced those old policies with subsidized Obamacare policies and now can't afford those policies, who are they going to blame, over and over and over again in the right-wing media? They're going to blame Obama, accusing him of tyrannically taking away their old policies in the first place and thus being the guy who left them uninsured.
Maybe the Court's Republicans are going to game this out and conclude that a ruling against the law will be too much for the GOP and conservative movement to handle. But I wouldn't bet the rent money on that.