Ten seconds before the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare, liberals were wailing about how this is the most partisan court in memory. They told us that thanks to Chief Justice John Roberts and his conservative cronies, the court had lost its way, that if it wasn’t exactly illegitimate, it was something close to it. Ten seconds after the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision, John Roberts was a regular Oliver Wendell Holmes as far as the Left was concerned.
It’s interesting, isn’t it, that if the conservative justices had prevailed, the court would be seen as hopelessly partisan and recklessly activist by liberals. But since the liberal side won, the court is wise and restrained.
I don’t know if, as some conservatives have presumed, Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the liberals in order to preserve what they’re calling the integrity of the court; if he ruled the way he did knowing that a 5-4 decision, with all the Republicans appointees voting one way and the Democratic appointees the other, would do great damage to the image of the court.
At this point, it doesn’t matter. ObamaCare is constitutional because five justices said it was. Case closed.
Except for the political part.
I hope Mitt Romney reminds the voters, over and over again, that President Obama told us that the individual mandate was not a tax. Here’s what he said to George Stephanopoulos of ABC News:
STEPHANOPOULOS: … your critics say [the individual mandate] is a tax increase.
OBAMA: My critics say everything is a tax increase. My critics say that I’m taking over every sector of the economy. You know that. Look, we can have a legitimate debate about whether or not we’re going to have an individual mandate or not, but …
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you reject that it’s a tax increase?
OBAMA: I absolutely reject that notion.
But President Obama’s Solicitor General, who argued the case before the Court, didn’t reject the notion. He said the mandate was a tax, knowing that was his only shot at winning. And five justices bought the argument.
Now President Obama is stuck with it.
He also told us that he would not raise taxes on anyone making less than $200,000 a year. But if you choose not to buy health insurance, you’ll be taxed – even if you’re making a lot less than $200,000. In fact, it’s estimated that 76 percent of the payers will earn less than $120,000 a year.
And remember when the president told the American people that if they’re happy with their current plan they could keep it. Wanna bet? Watch and see how many companies drop health insurance and opt for paying a fine – sorry, a tax — which in many cases will be cheaper.
ObamaCare is more unpopular today than when it was passed. Laws may be constitutional and crummy at the same time. To many voters, ObamaCare isn’t simply about medical insurance. It’s about the size and power of government to control our lives.
President Obama may have won the battle. The war has just begun.