Monday, November 14, 2011


The wingnut-apparatchik bloc on the Supreme Court really must have held out hope until the last minute for a mainstream-ish GOP nominee who wasn't Mitt Romney. Think about it: the political establishment thought Rick Perry was the only other person who could win the GOP nomination until Perry's "Oops!" flub, and mere days after that flub -- and after Erick Erickson declared that the result of having Romney at the top of the ticket would be that "conservatism dies and Obama wins" -- the Supremes decided that they plan to rule on the Obama health care law this year:

The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a challenge to the 2010 health care overhaul law, President Obama's signature legislative achievement. The development set the stage for oral arguments by March and a decision in late June, in the midst of the 2012 presidential campaign.

Is that the correct explanation for the timing of the announcement? Or was the plan all along to fire up the base this way, either by declaring that Obama's law flouts the Constitution or, if a fifth vote can't be won over, by allowing the right-wing noise machine to proclaim that the ruling happened as a result of conflict of interest? appears that all justices will take part in the decision.

Conservative groups had called on Justice Elena Kagan to recuse herself because she worked for the Obama administration as solicitor general....

(Yes, I know: Clarence Thomas has a real conflict of interest, given that his wife has actively campaigned against the bill. But our side would never mount an effective campaign of outrage on the subject, and wouldn't have even if Anthony Weiner were still in office and untainted by scandal.)

Or am I looking at this all wrong? Are the Supremes now trying to help Romney by taking the issue he's presumed to have offended the base on the most off the table? (Supreme Court to Wingnuttia re health care: Chill the f**k out. We got this.)

Whatever's going on, I think we have to amend Finley Peter Dunne: the Supreme Court is now trying to drive the election returns.


c u n d gulag said...

I don't see it that way.

Yes, ACA is a start towards a nationalized health care system, and the right hates it (for reasons they can't articulate - only mimic), but the mandate is a gift to corporations.

And, like their support of 'Citizens United,' I think they'll come down in favor of it.

I think that if this was universal/single-payer health care, that Heaven and Earth would have been moved and everyone would be keeping the pressure on Roberts to keep Kennedy in with the knuckle-draggers.

But this will give more "voice (aka - cash)" for our 'brother and sister' citizen health care corporations, so I expect the mandate to pass - and not with a 1 vote majority, either.

In a better world, they'd say 'no' to the mandate, and decide that Medicare-for-all makes the most sense.
But we don't live in that dimension, do we?

BH said...

The S Ct won't have the option of deciding what else might make better sense than the individual mandate, although the ultimate opinion(s) may well include dicta (i.e., non-binding expressions of opinion) on that point. The Ct can only decide the issue put before it - whether the mandate is constitutionally sound or not. Personally, I think it's better to get this cleared up ASAP, one way or the other. The makeup of the Ct doesn't seem likely to change before the election, & if O gets re-elected you can bet that none of the righties on the Ct will retire until 2017 at the earliest. So, as the Admin seems to have concluded, no good reason to delay S Ct review.

ploeg said...

The Supremes want to get to the ACA before an overwhelming majority of circuit courts rules in favor of the ACA. It would be embarrassing to have to overrule all of those other rulings.

Steve M. said...

The Ct can only decide the issue put before it

This Court thinks it can do whatever it wants, no? Or at least whatever it can get five votes for? And who'll stop it?

BH said...

One thing, Steve, that even this S Ct can't & won't do is to (a) find the individual mandate unconstitutional and (b) dictate an alternative approach that "makes better sense". That's all I meant: the ACA mandate provision may well be ditched, but the Ct won't then proceed to tell Congress what to do instead. For one thing, if a majority votes to kill the ACA, that majority certainly won't have any inclination (even if it thought it had jurisdiction) to then go on and outline a govt healthcare program it would approve. Instead, such a majority would happily leave the ACA gutted in hopes that Congress wouldn't even try again.

Steve M. said...

Oh, sorry. You're absolutely right about that.