I’d say that the Roberts court has a serious credibility problem, since more Americans believe they will make a political ruling on the health care act than not. I believe that, too – I just don’t know which constituency they want to placate. They’ll either toss out the individual mandate, making the Tea Party and Mrs. Clarence Thomas very happy, or they’ll figure out a way to keep it, thus making insurance companies and their Wall Street backers very happy. So either way, it’s a win for them. Just maybe not so much for the rest of us:
More Americans think Supreme Court justices will be acting mainly on their partisan political views than on a neutral reading of the law when they decide the constitutionality of President Obama’s health-care law, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Half of the public expects the justices to rule mainly based on their “partisan political views,” while fewer, 40 percent, expect their decisions to be rooted primarily “on the basis of the law.” The rest say both equally or do not have an opinion.
The court held a historic three days of oral arguments on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act last month, and its ruling probably will come just before the court adjourns at the end of June. The poll shows little enthusiasm for the Obama administration’s position that the law, passed by the Democratic Congress in 2010, should be upheld in full.
Only a quarter of Americans choose that as the desired outcome. Thirty-eight percent would like the entire law thrown out; 29 percent would like the court to strike the requirement that individuals obtain health insurance and to keep the rest of the law.
Only 39 percent of Americans support the health-care overhaul in general, the lowest percentage since the Post-ABC poll began asking the question.
The public’s perception of the court is closely tied to partisan and ideological leanings. Almost twice as many conservative Republicans think the court will decide on the basis of the law rather than politics, 58 to 33 percent. Liberal Democrats are more skeptical, saying by an equally wide margin that the court will put politics first.
Not to beat a dead horse, but back when Alito and Roberts were nominees, I was on a conference call with Harry Reid and Democratic abortion activist groups. I told them they were crazy to make the nomination fight about abortion. “Why pick the single most divisive issue, the one where the Republicans have an emotional activist base, when you can get more working people on your side by pointing out their consistently pro-corporate rulings?” I said then. (I really wish I wasn’t saying “told you” about this. I really do think those fights were winnable on those grounds, especially with Alito.)