The Supreme Court certainly knows how to throw a party! It just depends on which Party you favor! Democrat or Republican, there was plenty of mischief that could be made from yesterday’s news-breaking decision on the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) otherwise referred to as Obamacare and its impact on healthcare reform. At WBC (wbcbaltimore.com) we’ve been suggesting a wait-and-see approach, since betting on a one-sided ruling is always fraught with danger, and a topic as sensitive as the ACA was certainly not one to try and take to the bank.
Most observers were not only stunned that the individual mandate survived, but that the deciding swing vote originated from Chief Justice John Roberts, and not Justice Kennedy. To borrow from a fractured Hamlet reading, “Alas, poor Roberts, I knew him well.”
Those WBC readers who are history buffs and SCOTUS groupies, probably recall another Justice Roberts, Justice Owen Roberts, who was a leading conservative voice on the high court during the 1930’s and challenged many of the New Deal’s expansion of federal powers, particularly the unbridled use of the Commerce Clause. Just when the commentators of the day thought they had Roberts figured out, he slipped them a curve by voting with his liberal colleagues (appointments of FDR) on a number of key cases, including an important Minimum Wage case (“The switch in time that saved nine”). The point is that like today’s Justice Roberts, his namesake was accused of everything from political intimidation to mental illness.
We’ll have to wait and see whether our Justice John Roberts was voting as his honest interpretation dictated, as a capitulation to the status quo, or as part of a brilliant far-reaching strategy to make the 2012 Presidential election a water-shed point in the future of the country.