by Odd Man Out
Justice Scalia’s clownish show of contempt and Justice Alito’s skeptical questions during oral arguments regarding “Obamacare” don’t necessarily mean the reactionary contingent of SCOTUS is ready to overturn the law. As TPM noted yesterday:
A similar scene took place last fall, when the D.C. Court of Appeals took up the case. As news outlets reported at the time, Judge Laurence Silberman — a Reagan appointee who was elevated by President George W. Bush — was among those hammering the administration’s lawyer with questions about the individual mandate and the limits of power.
Forbes declared, “D.C. Appeals Court Points the Way to the Defeat of Obamacare’s Individual Mandate.” Conservatives then sounded triumphant too…
Less than two months later, Silberman cast the deciding vote to uphold “Obamacare.”
In his majority opinion, Silberman located the “limiting principle” he was looking for on his own, and knocked down the heart of the conservative argument. The judge declared that not buying health insurance was hardly an economic “inactivity” because the uninsured directly impact the system regardless.
Meaning that somebody ultimately must pay for the medical care of the uninsured. There’s no way around that fact. This week Chief Justice Roberts actually conceded, “Everybody is in this market. So that makes it very different than the market for cars or the other hypotheticals that you came up with, and all [the Obama administration] is regulating is how you pay for it.”
Can the SCOTUS right-wingers kill the mandate without creating chaos? Roberts will have to answer that question soon.