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Reich writes: "By joining with the Court's four liberals who have been in the minority in many important cases - including the 2010 decision, Citizen's United vs. Federal Election Commission, the current Justice Roberts may have, like his earlier namesake, saved the Court from a growing reputation for political partisanship."

Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)
Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)



Why Roberts Switched

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog

30 June 12

 

oday a majority of the Court upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare in recognition of its importance as a key initiative of the Obama administration. The big surprise, for many, was the vote by the Chief Justice of the Court, John Roberts, to join with the Court's four liberals.

Roberts' decision is not without precedent. Seventy-five years ago, another Justice Roberts - no relation to the current Chief Justice - made a similar switch. Justice Owen Roberts had voted with the Court's conservative majority in a host of 5-4 decisions invalidating New Deal legislation, but in March of 1937 he suddenly switched sides and began joining with the Court's four liberals. In popular lore, Roberts' switch saved the Court - not only from Franklin D. Roosevelt's threat to pack it with justices more amenable to the New Deal but, more importantly, from the public's increasing perception of the Court as a partisan, political branch of government.

Chief Justice John Roberts isn't related to his namesake but the current Roberts' move today marks a close parallel. By joining with the Court's four liberals who have been in the minority in many important cases - including the 2010 decision, Citizen's United vs. Federal Election Commission, which struck down constraints on corporate political spending as being in violation of the Constitution's First Amendment guaranteeing freedom of speech - the current Justice Roberts may have, like his earlier namesake, saved the Court from a growing reputation for political partisanship.

As Alexander Hamilton pointed out when the Constitution was being written, the Supreme Court is the "least dangerous branch" of government because it has neither the purse (it can't enforce its rulings by threatening to withhold public money) nor the sword (it has no police or military to back up its decisions). It has only the trust and confidence of average citizens. If it is viewed as politically partisan, that trust is in jeopardy. As Chief Justice, Roberts has a particular responsibility to maintain and enhance that trust.

Nothing else explains John Roberts' switch - certainly not the convoluted constitutional logic he used to arrive at his decision. On the most critical issue in the case - whether the so-called "individual mandate" requiring almost all Americans to purchase health insurance was a constitutionally-permissible extension of federal power under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution - Roberts agreed with his conservative brethren that it was not.

Roberts nonetheless upheld the law because, he reasoned, the penalty to be collected by the government for non-compliance with the law is the equivalent of a tax - and the federal government has the power to tax. By this bizarre logic, the federal government can pass all sorts of unconstitutional laws - requiring people to sell themselves into slavery, for example - as long as the penalty for failing to do so is considered to be a tax.

Regardless of the fragility of Roberts' logic, the Court's majority has given a huge victory to the Obama administration and, arguably, the American people. The Affordable Care Act is still flawed - it doesn't do nearly enough to control increases in healthcare costs that already constitute 18 percent of America's Gross Domestic Product, and will soar even further as the baby boomers age - but it is a milestone. And like many other pieces of important legislation before it - Social Security, Medicare, Civil Rights and Voting Rights - it will be improved upon. Every Democratic president since Franklin D. Roosevelt has sought universal health care, to no avail.

But over the next four months the Act will be a political football. Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate, has vowed to repeal the law as soon as he is elected (an odd promise in that no president can change or repeal a law without a majority of the House of Representatives and sixty Senators). Romney reiterated that vow this morning, after the Supreme Court announced its decision. His campaign, and so-called independent groups that have been collecting tens of millions of dollars from Romney supporters (and Obama haters), have already launched advertising campaigns condemning the Act.

Unfortunately for President Obama - and for Chief Justice Roberts, to the extent his aim in joining with the Court's four liberals was to reduce the public appearance of the Court's political partisanship - the four conservatives on the Court, all appointed by Republican presidents, were fiercely united in their view that the entire Act is unconstitutional. Their view will surely become part of the Romney campaign.



Robert Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written thirteen books, including "Locked in the Cabinet," "Reason," "Supercapitalism," "Aftershock," and his latest e-book, "Beyond Outrage." His 'Marketplace' commentaries can be found on publicradio.com and iTunes.

 

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+94 # fictionmadereal 2012-06-30 12:33
Robert's logic is insane. A penalty for not purchasing a corporate good or service is not a tax. Why the left is so excited about the Afordable Care Act, I'll never know. This isn't Universal Health Care, it is Universal Health INSURANCE. Although it may help some Americans to an unknown extent, it is simply a further collusion of power between big business, and their revolving door in Washington, we refer to as government. Profit needs to be taken completely out of the equation of life and death. Seems ethical, no?
 
 
+9 # Aunt Tom 2012-06-30 16:40
"Robert's logic is insane." I agree. Well, next thing you know, the Court will let us know how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.
 
 
-38 # Skyelav 2012-06-30 16:42
You are right. The left was so excited that Obama tackled the program they forgot to read it, er... I mean we forgot to. Satisfied with anything that covers everyone no matter what, the left prayed and made calls and Roberts did what he was ordered to, vote yes for privatized health care. SOS.
 
 
0 # brux 2012-06-30 16:48
> Why the left is so excited about the Afordable Care Act,

I'm with you there, it is a minute improvement, but fairly insignificant.

I think the left somehow likes it because it is branded as liberal, which it is not really. The left has thinkers every bit as superficial as the right! ;-)
 
 
+10 # Johnny 2012-06-30 17:51
Agreed. What is "liberal" about legislating penalties on people who do not fork over money to private corporations? Roberts' did not "switch." The ACA is logically consistent with the Citizens United decision.
 
 
+76 # NanFan 2012-06-30 17:15
Quoting fictionmadereal:
Profit needs to be taken completely out of the equation of life and death. Seems ethical, no?


Yes, it is ethical, but that was never on the chopping block with the Supreme Court. Either way, profit is in the equation, BUT with Obamacare there is a segment of the law that requires the insurance companies to put 85% of the monies they receive back into healthcare.

What the Dems need to do now is outline very clearly each point of the Act that provides something good to the American people. And there is a lot! No, it's not universal healthcare, but it's providing things that never have been available before: no pre-existing condition riders, healthcare for the poor if they can't afford it, and more.

So Obama and the Dems need to counter the Republican surge against this by simply talking about what the good things in the Act are for the people, and they must start NOW, or Obama could very well lose this election.

I think that this battle was what Roberts was hoping for, because it's a HUGE stretch of reasoning that the penalty can be considered a tax.

My thoughts.

N.
 
 
+11 # RLF 2012-07-01 09:24
Problem is the Insurance Co.s will just play tricky accting and make their billions...even if they have to do it by paying the executives huge salaries.
 
 
+4 # oldleftie 2012-07-01 11:47
Quoting NanFan:
So Obama and the Dems need to counter the Republican surge against this by simply talking about what the good things in the Act are for the people, and they must start NOW, or Obama could very well lose this election.

I think that this battle was what Roberts was hoping for, because it's a HUGE stretch of reasoning that the penalty can be considered a tax.

My thoughts.

N.


While I agree with your assessment, constitutional lawyers will tell you it's not such a stretch. First of all, it was one of the arguments made. Second, constitutional jurisprudence requires that the Court bend over backwards to find any reasoning they can *not* to declare an act of Congress unconstitutiona l. So once the Commerce Clause argument fell, the only argument left was to cast the penalty (the penalty, remember, not the cost of purchasing the policy in the first place) as a tax.

Of course, this whole problem would never have come up if the President had just pushed Medicare for all, which *is* a tax for government subsidized health care. And I'm still not convinced that Roberts didn't voit in favor just to give the right wing something to fight for, since as you said the law is so complicated that it is going to take us a lot of time to explain to those who oppose it what it really says and does for us.
 
 
+7 # NanFan 2012-07-01 18:52
Quoting oldleftie:
And I'm still not convinced that Roberts didn't voit in favor just to give the right wing something to fight for, since as you said the law is so complicated that it is going to take us a lot of time to explain to those who oppose it what it really says and does for us.


My point exactly! There will be trouble and the Dems need to be ready to counter what the Repubs will most certainly sling as the truth, which will not be anywhere near the truth, about this Act.

N.
 
 
+2 # bmiluski 2012-07-02 09:40
Quoting NanFan:
Quoting fictionmadereal:
Profit needs to be taken completely out of the equation of life and death. Seems ethical, no?


Yes, it is ethical, but that was never on the chopping block with the Supreme Court. Either way, profit is in the equation, BUT with Obamacare there is a segment of the law that requires the insurance companies to put 85% of the monies they receive back into healthcare.

What the Dems need to do now is outline very clearly each point of the Act that provides something good to the American people. And there is a lot! No, it's not universal healthcare, but it's providing things that never have been available before: no pre-existing condition riders, healthcare for the poor if they can't afford it, and more.

So Obama and the Dems need to counter the Republican surge against this by simply talking about what the good things in the Act are for the people, and they must start NOW, or Obama could very well lose this election.

I think that this battle was what Roberts was hoping for, because it's a HUGE stretch of reasoning that the penalty can be considered a tax.

My thoughts.

N.

My biggest fear is that the tea-bags and neo-cons are going to do their black boot/brown shirt tactics AGAIN by not allowing any townhall discussions about Obama Care. Just as they did when the president started to roll out his original HC Plan.
 
 
+38 # NanFan 2012-06-30 17:17
P.S. The biggest flaw in this Act is that there is no cap on what insurance companies can charge...at least I don't see one...correct me if I'm wrong.

N.
 
 
+12 # Johnny 2012-06-30 17:53
True, but you can be sure that the Supremes would have struck down any such limitation on corporate hegemony.
 
 
+48 # bingers 2012-06-30 18:17
Quoting NanFan:
P.S. The biggest flaw in this Act is that there is no cap on what insurance companies can charge...at least I don't see one...correct me if I'm wrong.

N.

Well, it prevents large insurance companies from making a profit of over 15% and small ones from making over 20% and it cuts off all the ways around it like giving huge payouts to executives unless they com after the 15% is figured, which would be paid out of shareholder profits. In other words, it won't get done.

Granted it would have been better if it were Medicare for all, but it represents a huge improvement over what we had.

You don't get everything you want without working for it. When people finally start to understand how much better this is for them, all the mental midgets bleating about how bad it is will have a major probl;em trying to hold on to their offices and progress will get easier. Assuming the 40 Republican billionaires buying congress haven't completed their destruction of democracy by then.
 
 
+13 # coberly 2012-06-30 19:34
bingers

15% of 2 trillion dollars ought to be enough profit for them. for a while. thing is there is no incentive for them to reduce health care costs.... they get 15% (approximately) of whatever it costs in profit, so the more it costs the more money they make.

and the more you pay. thing is, the more it costs, the more you "need" insurance to pay for it. but of course now the Insurance companies don't have to worry about that, because no matter how much it costs the government makes you buy it from them.

this is not free market. nor is it government taking care of the people's needs. it is mafia making you an offer you can't refuse.
 
 
+16 # paulrevere 2012-07-01 12:15
I remember when anything over 10% was considered usury...

usury was once punishable by law...
 
 
+5 # NanFan 2012-07-01 18:55
Quoting bingers:
When people finally start to understand how much better this is for them, all the mental midgets bleating about how bad it is will have a major problem trying to hold on to their offices and progress will get easier. Assuming the 40 Republican billionaires buying congress haven't completed their destruction of democracy by then.


Thank you. From your lips to the sane voters ears!

N.
 
 
+10 # John Locke 2012-06-30 17:20
Maybe now the people that have been giving us the thumbs down will start to think and reason...it isn't just some of us here who were saying the same thing, this is someone that you respect!


"Roberts nonetheless upheld the law because, he reasoned, the penalty to be collected by the government for non-compliance with the law is the equivalent of a tax - and the federal government has the power to tax. By this "bizarre logic", the federal government can pass all sorts of "unconstitution al laws" - requiring people to sell themselves into slavery, for example - as long as the penalty for failing to do so is considered to be a tax."

Thank you Mr. Reich for a breath of sanity!
 
 
+4 # Virginia 2012-07-01 03:43
How come it doesn't feel good to be vindicated? A colleague of mine said today that the ruling on expansion will likely lead to states opting out of federal programs, like Title IX, to trim their budgets since they've all lost so much of their pension trust funds in the Wall Street securitization Ponzi.

I wonder if any of our leaders run through the potential log term affect scenarios before they acquiesce to their advisers.
 
 
+1 # oldleftie 2012-07-01 11:55
no.no.no. Reich misunderstands the jurisprudence. It's "otherwise" unconstitutiona l. And it's no "bizarre logic". You can't pass a law "requiring people to sell themselves into slavery" because that would be a direct violation of the Constitution. The arguments made against ACA were based on the fact that there was a private entity as a middleman between the government and the beneficiary. Medicare for all would have avoided that problem, and would have been perfectly constitutional, because people would pay their taxes to the government which would then pay the money to private individuals. The "tax" analogy is a "legal fiction" required because the court is charged with doing everything it can to affirm constitutionali ty of any congressional act.
 
 
-2 # John Locke 2012-07-01 12:45
oldleftie: It is not a "legal fiction" it is "pure Fiction" ...the distinction between a tax and a fine is quite clear... a tax is a revenur raising measure to raise money for the government, a tax would be levied against the policy's purchase, a fine is levied for non complience, a non purchase...

Roberts just set Obama up to lose the election, I am sure you don't see that yet, but that will become clearer over time...Either way Obama was going to be hurt, this way he antagonized both bases!and insured the republican's will come out in droves to vote for Romney!!! if he had ruled against the HCA the democratic base would have been up in arms and come out in droves...Robert s is a very cleaver man!He knew exactly what his vote would accomplish
 
 
+5 # oldleftie 2012-07-01 16:25
John, John, John... 1) if you had read some of my earlier posts, you'd see that I was one of the first to express fear that Roberts was in fact helping the GOP. If you want to criticize someone for not seeing that, criticize Reich 2) You still don't get constitutional jurisprudence. Try taking a course, then get back to me. The "tax" argument was brought up by Obama as one means of getting court approval.
3) To those of you who feel it necessary to give me thumbs down without commenting, consider this: That's exactly what the people you criticize do.
 
 
-9 # John Locke 2012-07-01 17:28
oldleftie: Try again, I have a JD Degree what do have that makes sense? Other then a loud noise!
 
 
+2 # oldleftie 2012-07-02 19:10
Locke. JD 1980. Solomon Scholar in Giurisprudenza, Universita di Bologna. Hope that's enough. Anyway, as I said before, American Constitutional Jurisprudence is based on the "checks and balances" concept. Therefore, the Supreme Court is required by centuries of precedent to find any possible argument to sustain the constitutionali ty of any legislation. That was why the "tax" argument was brought up in the first place, in case this Court was so dedicated to destroying decades of using the Commerce Clause for its rationale to sustain otherwise unconstitutiona l acts that a new rationale was needed. But Reich, who is not a legal scholar, misunderstands the use of "tax" as a legal fiction in order to support the constitutionali ty. Whether that is because Roberts is looking at his own legacy, and is maturing to the point where ideology will take a back seat to sound jurisprudential reasoning, or whether he in fact is following a strategy of helping the left in the short term but galvanizing the right in the long term will not become apparent until the next term. By then, of course, it won't matter.
 
 
-1 # John Locke 2012-07-03 13:35
What form of Law were you taught, Canada and most of the world don't follow our system completely, When I was in Law school we had lawyers from Canada that were required to take tort law to get a license in the US...

THat aside my JD if from an American School Bernadean University 1989 and I do agree with your clarification here but disagree with your former comment!
 
 
-23 # Ralph Averill 2012-06-30 17:32
Profits are essential. If farmers had no surplus, we would all have to be farmers. The ethics, or lack thereof, comes into play when it is decided where the profits go; how are they invested. That is where modern Democrats and Republicans diverge.
 
 
+20 # Johnny 2012-06-30 18:01
Democrats and Republicans do not diverge in where the profits go. For both, the profits of working class labor go to corporations and to the government. The profits of corporations and financial institutions go partly to executives but mostly are reinvested to buy politicians. The APA is perfect proof that the tax money in the hands of the government does not go to meet needs like health care. Instead, it goes to the tune of trillions for endless wars that enrich profiteers and preserve the international financial system, and enforce the slavery of the 99 percent.
 
 
+36 # pbbrodie 2012-06-30 18:10
This is the silliest thing I have seen here yet.
Have you ever heard of a non-profit corporation? How in the world do you think non-profits function? According to your "theory," they can't.
Profits are anything but essential and that is exactly what's wrong with our country and society in general.
How in the world the medical profession convinced the vast majority of Americans that healthcare should be practiced for a profit is well beyond me.
If the USA is supposed to be a Christian nation, how did such a completely un-Christian thing ever come about?
 
 
-2 # Ralph Averill 2012-07-01 05:08
Where do non-profit corporations get their income from? Heaven? Magic? Non-profits are charities that derive their income from individuals who have a surplus to give, and profit-making business organizations.
There's nothing wrong with operating healthcare as a charity, or as a non-profit government program, (my choice,) but somebody, somewhere, has to be making a profit, and lots of it, for any of this to happen.
I stand by my statement.
 
 
0 # oldleftie 2012-07-01 12:04
Quoting pbbrodie:
This is the silliest thing I have seen here yet.
Have you ever heard of a non-profit corporation? How in the world do you think non-profits function? According to your "theory," they can't.


Sorry, but you're misunderstandin g the whole economic concept. "Non-profits" are not truly non profit. They have directors who get salaries, employees who get benefits. What they don't have are fungible products. They don't produce something than can be resold, and they don't have investors who can trade their stocks. They are basically all charities. They often produce "surplus" but it is retained. But if you don't think a nonprofit is just another corporation, look at the salary of the head of the Red Cross...
The medical profession has always practiced for a profit. Otherwise a doctor starves to death. When the cost of living got so high that doctors had to increase their charges to pay for their offices, labs and nurses, insurance companies got into the act so that someone could pay a little each month and then be protected if they had a medical problem that cost more than they would have had if they had just saved the money. The problem isn't that healthcare is practiced for a profit. Many health plans are nonprofits. It's that insurance companies have huge overheads. And remember, if you close down an insurance company, you throw all their employees out of work
 
 
+20 # reiverpacific 2012-06-30 19:52
Quoting Ralph Averill:
Profits are essential. If farmers had no surplus, we would all have to be farmers. The ethics, or lack thereof, comes into play when it is decided where the profits go; how are they invested. That is where modern Democrats and Republicans diverge.

Profits are one thing -I try myself to make a profit or I wouldn't be in business- obscene profit, mindless, resource-gobbli ng growth as a default means of accumulation as in a corporate charter, goes against all things natural and makes us all poor except for the mindless, introspective profiteers who can buy and therefore manipulate the less ambitious and socially conscious and attempt to bend them to feed insular power needs well beyond basic and even righteously gained material wealth.
THAT's the point at issue, and it's not really Democrat verses Republican but inhuman (or rather, human) illogical greed verses progressive logic spread of resources.
Surely that can be understood by even any of you surviving Neanderthals.
 
 
+6 # Ralph Averill 2012-07-01 11:13
"it's not really Democrat verses Republican but inhuman (or rather, human) illogical greed verses progressive logic spread of resources."
The choice has a political manifestation and that's where the two parties come in and there is a real difference. It is the Democrats that pushed for universal healthcare for decades. The New Deal, the War on Poverty, are all Democratic ideals. It has been the Republicans who have promoted "obscene profit, mindless, resource-gobbli ng growth..." and the accumulation of wealth into the hands of the very few.
 
 
+4 # oldleftie 2012-07-01 12:09
Quoting reiverpacific:

Surely that can be understood by even any of you surviving Neanderthals.
How about those of us who can't understand why you feel it necessary to insult those with whom you disagree? And what do you propose to do with the massive spike in unemployment that must result if you close down all those insurance companies.
I'll match my Marxist credentials against anyone's here, but I think a lot of you are being all too shortsighted. The first step needs to be the transfer of ALL voting stock in ALL corporations to employees, retired employees and people who live in areas where the corporations have their offices and production centers. Then they can sell nonvoting preferred stock and bonds to anyone who wants to invest, but the actual control of the corporation is in the hands of the workers.
 
 
+9 # John Locke 2012-07-01 15:05
oldleftie: There is nothing wrong with corporations or stock ownership by private citizens...The issue is the type of corporation and which is better served by the corporate control...

I would say since Congress is charged with control over our money, Banks should be owned and run by the Government for our benefit and not private interest. THe same with Medical care, which is a basic Human Right!

We should have learned our history lessons from the Rothschilds, but we still haven't and now our government is also controlled by the Banks...As long as Banks control governments there will be limitless wars! Because War is big business and very profitable for those at the top!
 
 
+3 # oldleftie 2012-07-01 16:28
Locke: I agree with most of what you have written. My solution puts the ownership of the means of production in the hands of the workers by giving them exclusive right to own voting stock. It does not affect corporate fundraising in any way.
I sincerely hope that your comment about the Rothschilds was not meant to extend beyond the individual family. Too often, I'm sure you are aware, it's used as a euphemism. I trust you aren't of the ilk that would do so.
 
 
+3 # John Locke 2012-07-01 17:43
oldleftie: Not in the least, I have read the history of the Rothschilds, along with the Histories of France, England, Germany, Austria, and the theory of Banking and Economics...and I have a Law Degree, but please don't hold that against me!

I refer to that family and the banking connections today here in America which included JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs...
in an instructive sense

I am not as you may imply antisemetic, Neither am I a Marxist which is what I perceive of you from your discussion!

I am not in favor of any anti capatalist movement just how it has raveled out of control in most countries today...But that goes back to the banks!

I would be for state capatilism but employee stock ownership unless that was how the company was set up, is pure socialism and I am also not in favor of that! In short I am against Marxist views on most points, his idea of utopia is illusionary in the real world...but I am not against his theory of capatilism which he was correct in his understanding of its frailties...
 
 
-4 # charsjcca 2012-06-30 21:39
This is the same Court that ruled on Plessy v. Ferguson. Right?
 
 
+6 # oldleftie 2012-07-01 12:09
Quoting charsjcca:
This is the same Court that ruled on Plessy v. Ferguson. Right?


No, all those Judges are dead.
 
 
0 # John Locke 2012-07-01 15:13
charsjcca: I don't understand your comment or the point. If you are referring to the political ploy then yes I see a similarity. That decision was based on Political ploy at the time 1896, African Americans were still not looked on favorably by the Supreme Court, Brown v. Board of Education overturned it!

If you mean that this Obamacare decision was also based on political ploy...I would agree, otherwise I am lost as to your point!
 
 
+5 # AMLLLLL 2012-06-30 22:43
fiction, there are a few examples of how the irs can penalize someone who does not cooperate, such as quarterly tax estimates, in which the taxee (independent contractor) is charged a fee for not paying on time. It's not a tax, but is charged by the taxing entity.
 
 
+8 # AMLLLLL 2012-06-30 22:50
Roberts' logic has much more to do with the Montana decision handed down a couple days previous. It doubled down on Citizens United and the strategy is to appear non-partisan, but with unlimited corporate spending in more elections, in a couple years the redness of the legislature can knock down healthcare reform, Roe v Wade, Dodd/Frank, and whatever else has been bugging the right.
 
 
+101 # JohnDavis 2012-06-30 12:57
People in the USA need to realize the opportunity for universal health care, as exists in Canada, the UK, and so many other Western nations, passed by a few decades ago. The first attempt, by Harry Truman, was dead on arrival in Congress because the South would never tolerate racially integrated hospitals, the attempt by Richard Nixon, in the 1970's never made it past Nixon's own paranoid actions in Watergate, etc., so never became a bill Congress ever seriously looked at, then came the Oil Embargo of 1973, when nothing else would matter but gas prices going over 50 cents a gallon. Don't expect Reagan, or Bush I to have thought about the working class and health care, by the time Clinton arrived, and his wife made her bold effort, health care costs had skyrocketed, so any ideas of more equal benefits for the poor and working class was off the table in Congress. By the Bush 2 era, the only passable choice was private big corporate-enric hing mandatory health INSURANCE, not universal care. Thus, Heritage Foundation, and Mitt Romney, and then Obama, passed and set in place what Obamacare is now. America got what she got because of racism 60 years ago, because a President was paranoid and did stupid things in the 70's, and because corporations were enabled through the 80's to early 2000's to keep government's taxing hands out of their big pockets.
 
 
+74 # Rain17 2012-06-30 15:40
Universal healthcare, as exists in the UK, Canada, France, and other countries, will never happen in the US until American attitudes toward government and social programs significantly change. Right now there is a significant minority, if not an actual majority, of people who so resents the idea of "someone getting something for nothing" that it will never pass. There is a significant percentage of Americans who believes that the "uninsured", were it not for their decision to own cell phones and have Cable TV or some other "irresponsible choices", would be able to afford insurance. And this is before you even get to the arguments that "people should go to their church or charity for help" and that, if we were to have universal care, "people would have to wait for months on end to get treatment". Then you would encounter the arguments that "bureaucrats would ration care" even though the insurance companies all but do that.

That Obama was able to get this plan passed and survive past the Supreme Court is a miracle.
 
 
+29 # X Dane 2012-06-30 16:28
Rain 17

They not,.... all but do that,... (ration care) They do, DO THAT, for they refuse to pay for some procedures, because they want bigger profits.....Wha tever the reason is
....It is still rationing.
 
 
+12 # Skyelav 2012-06-30 16:40
Agreed. The 90% are about to see the consequences of giving the reins to the 10%
 
 
+23 # independentmind 2012-06-30 20:36
I agree Americans have a strange attitude to taxation and government. They seem to want all the benefits of government without paying for it. I do not mind paying taxes, I can see the benefits in the infrastructure they provide as well as the services such as schools, police, fire etc. Our modern society needs this infrastructure and corporations would not provide them as cheaply as our tax dollars do, no matter what they try to tell us.
 
 
+11 # oldleftie 2012-07-01 12:12
Quoting Rain17:
Universal healthcare, as exists in the UK, Canada, France, and other countries, will never happen in the US until American attitudes toward government and social programs significantly change.

Universal health care exists in the US. It's called Medicare, and only needs to be extended to the entire population.
 
 
+14 # question authority 2012-06-30 17:08
Now that is putting it in perspective!. Excellent, concise history lesson.
 
 
+22 # Ralph Averill 2012-06-30 17:41
Thank you Mr. Davis for a good history lesson.
"America got what she got because of racism 60 years ago."
Alas, that statement applies to so much of modern America.
 
 
-14 # jlohman 2012-06-30 17:46
I suggest that Roberts just gave the Nov election to Romney. Had he killed ObamaCare Romney would have no steam. Now he can threaten repeal and win votes. Will that be enough?
 
 
+5 # oldleftie 2012-07-01 12:15
Close to the truth, even though it may be overstatement. It puts a greater burden on us to get out there and explain this to the uncommitted. It's going to be a tough fight, but if other factors don't add to the problem (rising unemployment, inflation, gas prices, war, etc.) we should, if we apply ourselves, be able to do it. The Obama people have to start giving us easily explainable, accurate summaries that we can start talking up.
 
 
-1 # John Locke 2012-07-01 15:18
jlohman: Thank you for seeing this trap. THat is exactly what Roberts intended and it is going to work!

His vote was calculated to give the Election to Romney! Everyone against this Health Care Plan is nor rallying behind Romney...Watch how this plays out over the next few months...
 
 
+98 # Mimi1R 2012-06-30 13:33
Of course we need Universal Health Care like every other civilized nation. Where are the consciences of the Republicans who fight against every measure which might help the poor, disabled, elderly? Have they no parents, grandparents, neighbors? It's a sad state these United States has arrived at far from the beacon of hope to the world from my childhood.
 
 
+31 # Rain17 2012-06-30 16:13
Mimi1R--The reality is that, if you bring that up to conservatives, their responses usually come back as:

1) The "uninsured" are irresponsible people who made bad choices.
2) Were it not for their "irresponsible choices", ie. having cell phones or cable TV, the uninsured could afford insurance.
3) They should find a job that provides benefits.
4) It's not "government's place to help those people". They should go to their church or charity for help.
5) I don't want my tax dollars going to that "lazy, fat, unemployed, uneducated woman on welfare in the inner city with five children who just wants a handout".
6) National healthcare will mean "long waiting times and bureaucrats coming between me and my doctor. (I find this one rich because the insurance companies already do that).
7) I don't want to pay for other peoples' medical needs.
 
 
+57 # tomr 2012-06-30 16:47
Republicans are NOT pro-life. They are pro-birth. After that, you're on your own.
 
 
+28 # Johnny 2012-06-30 18:06
The right to life ends at birth.
 
 
+41 # X Dane 2012-06-30 17:07
Mimi1R.
Frankly my dear....THEY DON'T GIVE A DAMN.

The poor, sick, and elderly....(The last category may be all three).... are just a big nuisance. Sadly I seems, it's all about profit now, and if you do not generate profit?? you do not count.... You have no value to them.


It think republicans feel, that if people are poor or otherwise in need, the church can take care of them. That is simply not possible, for the need is too great.
And then, I don't want ANYBODY to have to rely on charity. Charity is demeaning.

We constantly hear, that this is the richest country in the world. Well show it, for Pete's sake!! Treat our citizens with respect. USE some of all that money to repair the country and get people back to work. When enough people are working, the whole economy will slowly get back to normal, and we can pay off our debt.

Of course that means that the republicans HAVE to start saying yes"
Let's see if it is still in their vocabulary?? Maybe buried somewhere deeply in their dark souls.
 
 
+7 # Barbara K 2012-06-30 18:11
XDane: You are so correct. Sorry not able to post much as my daughter lives in Colorado Springs, and as you know they are on fire.
 
 
+1 # X Dane 2012-07-02 16:17
Dear Barbara K. I am so sorry for your daughter, and all the ones ALSO in danger. It is terrible to see all the people who are loosing EVERYTHING. It is so inadequate to say, you are sad for them. I hope the best for her and them all

I think most of us feel in our hearts, the horror it would be to see all you have worked so hard for, consumed by flames. You KNOW, that many of the victims of the fires will NEVER get fully back on their feet.

I would think that all the ones vilifying "public employees" like Firemen and law enforcement should think twice. These people are under enormous strain trying to save lives and property. Risking their OWN lives in the process. We NEED them and we have to treat them decently.
 
 
+5 # jky1291 2012-07-01 10:32
The Republican Perspective

After having been abused, exploited, and worked to death creating the wealthy, and having had their last dime stolen by a society the wealthy have perverted for their own devices, the poor should at least have the common courtesy to die quickly without complaint.
 
 
+60 # LeeBlack 2012-06-30 15:32
The Court will have to reverse Citizen's United before I believe they not politically biased. I think Roberts was able to have it both ways. It satisfies the liberals that the health care law stands and it satisfies the conservatives that it is based on the tax clause and not the commerce clause.
 
 
+25 # tm7devils 2012-06-30 15:49
This latest ruling NOT being set aside, I believe that the 5 conservative judges on the SC bench aren't worth the cost of the robes that they wear. They have proved that there isn't really a separation of powers, as mandated by the constitution, as we think there is...especially when conservatives are in control of the senate and/or the house.
J. Roberts vote switch does not get him off the hook (for Citizens United[twice], et.al.)- after all, if a murderer gave a hundred grand to charity...would you give him a 'get out of jail free' card?
 
 
+14 # VivaldiCO 2012-06-30 15:55
No. Roberts played a game. His intent was to give Republicans a reason to come out and beat Obama. But if his gamble mis-fired, he we in a position to claim great wisdom. -- In addition, he labeled the law a "tax," which will incite all the anti-government people, and he denied the right to legislate insurance control under the interstate-comm erce clause. Privately grown marijuana, yes. Publicly bought insurance, no. -- Roberts very carefully calculated the political effects of this decision, and placed his bet on the Republicans.
 
 
+2 # Virginia 2012-07-01 03:47
Absolutely.
 
 
+2 # John Locke 2012-07-01 15:21
Absolutely right!
 
 
+11 # Tom Camfield 2012-06-30 15:59
I remember well the old luxury taxes we paid way back around World War II or thereafter. Taxes can come in many forms.

Meanwhile let's not hold our breath until Scalia or Thomas vote for anything not flagrantly conservative.
 
 
+24 # Robert B 2012-06-30 19:54
They are not "conservative." They are radical right-wing extremists! Notice how "liberal" became a poisonous term of derision, whereas every fascist lunatic is an "ultra-conserva tive." That happened because the "vast right-wing conspiracy" Hillary Clinton talked about was absolutely true.
 
 
+31 # Edward Mainland 2012-06-30 16:23
Every American deserves the quality of health care that Dick Cheney currently enjoys. At least we should expand Medicare to everyone. After all, we would only then be catching up to where Count Otto Von Bismark took Germany in 1888. And why is Mitt Romney so angrily opposed to Obamacare when it's practically a carbon copy of his own Massachusetts program? He's opposed to himself.
 
 
-13 # John Locke 2012-06-30 18:06
Edward Mainland: REad about Mitt Romney's health care it is NOT the same.

And I don't think people are against universal health care, we are against a bad law that the SC just approved through deception...as Reich righfully said, next we will sell ourselves into slavery... next time instead of blasting us for trying to warn you...try stopping for a moment and thinking!!

As many of us have attempted to explain even with the abundance of thumbs down:

" By this "bizarre logic", the federal government can pass all sorts of "unconstitution al laws" - requiring people to sell themselves into slavery, for example - as long as the penalty for failing to do so is considered to be a tax."
 
 
+1 # John Locke 2012-07-01 12:47
DEnying reality doesn't make it any less reality!
 
 
+4 # rockycherry 2012-07-01 13:01
SCOTUS approved the bill less through deception than through intellectual dishonesty (Roberts) and a lack of respect for the law (the dissent). As for Obamacare being a bad law: it is. As an effort to insure universal access it is inferior to a single-payer system, and it's not surprising that Obamacare is a bad law - it's a conservative idea, not a liberal one.
 
 
0 # John Locke 2012-07-03 13:39
rockycherry: It was a bill promoted by Obama and negotiated by the Democrats, Obama signed it into law. He owns this bill!
 
 
+7 # jamander4 2012-06-30 16:24
Roberts voted the way he did in a highly partisan and cynical attempt to aid the Republican Party. The 2010 elections were a rout for the Republicans in no small part because the health care law was viewed so negativly by voters. Polls show support for some parts of the ACA to be popular but very strong feelings are held against the MANDATE. Roberts vote will allow the Republicans to run against the ACA once more. I hope the result will be different this time but I expect it to lead to a similar outcome.
 
 
+20 # reiverpacific 2012-06-30 16:26
Have gratitude for small mercies but consider R's source (Dimwits and co.).
This court's integrity (if I may use such a battered old expression) will AWAYS be up for question as long as Scabious Scalia and his lapdog "Uncle" Thomas are wearing the robes they are disgracing and the former is mouthing off from on high.
 
 
+10 # ditorac1 2012-06-30 16:35
I think Roberts did the one thing that will best insure Obama's defeat in Nov and lead to a GOP Congress which will, in turn, insure the repeal of Obama care that he clearly doesn't like. I do not believe for a minute that he seriously wants this to help Obama.
 
 
+21 # dick 2012-06-30 16:36
WHO KNOWS why Roberts did his acrobatics? Because Big Insurers like the bill? Of this you can be dead certain: it was done on behalf of the 0.01% whom he represents.
 
 
+7 # Aunt Tom 2012-06-30 16:37
Next they'll decide how many angels can dance on the head of a president.
 
 
+9 # Skyelav 2012-06-30 16:38
Roberts's decision may have only to do with the people who really run the country, to privatize health care forever. Our attitude that if people are poor they can just go somewhere out of sight and suffer, disgusts me to the core. We have become serfs to the Uber Elite and probably can do nothing about it. Next they will pick up our guns (all the more reason to elect Obama to another term) and throwing more crumbs we can fade back into our passivity to watch football, soccer, and other gladiator sports until we too die off.. Heartbreaking.
 
 
-38 # ditorac1 2012-06-30 16:47
Mimi1R, if you get to know someone that works in Social Services you will learn quick how many people make it a career of playing the game to get all they need to survive without ever working at a real job. It is not a matter of not wanting to help those that really need help but a matter of of helping too many that could help themselves but unstead they help themselves to free services and goods.
 
 
+14 # Skyelav 2012-06-30 19:27
Well that is a very very few of the people who have real needs. I worked in shelters in DC and trust me the 50% who are addicts can never get unhooked as there are no services that "work" for addicts if they are returned to their circumstances. The other 50% of homeless are mentally incapacitated preventing them for doing anything much to care for themselves. Most if not all are results of child abuse way beyond the normal.. Sorry
 
 
+8 # reiverpacific 2012-07-01 08:46
Quoting ditorac1:
Mimi1R, if you get to know someone that works in Social Services you will learn quick how many people make it a career of playing the game to get all they need to survive without ever working at a real job. It is not a matter of not wanting to help those that really need help but a matter of of helping too many that could help themselves but unstead they help themselves to free services and goods.

What a load of tea-party, libertarian nonsense as usual applied with a broad, worn out brush. I know and have dealt several people who work in Social Services and get paid quite small salaries for often exasperating jobs trying to fairly dispense increasingly atrophied resources meted out by Lobbyist-enable d and enriched "lawmakers" (and breakers), the same who lay down laws and cut resources for the needy whilst pandering to their every whim in the bloated privately-fed corporate sector, who are their real bosses.
You really must live in a social vacuum somewhere removed from the streets, or choose to be guided by the fact-benders and their owner-media patsies and mouthpieces.
 
 
+2 # jimbo 2012-06-30 17:00
The health insurance companies are part of the right wing money machine. To the extent that anything interferes with republicans' access to money and power they will oppose it, even at the expense of hundreds of thousands of Americans dying because of inadequate health care. The craven asshole romney is okay with this, to assuage his ambition to be president. I posted a comment a few weeks back suggesting that the ACA would pass because of the very same reason RR suggests, and I am heartened that, if it is indeed the reason Roberts joined the liberals, he did so. Maybe he is indeed the kind of American this country depends on for leadership.
 
 
+21 # BostonPundit 2012-06-30 17:00
Rain17
You make an interesting point but there is an equally strong case that it is not the government's role to provide health care or health insurance to all.
However, our system is unfair because it uses the tax incentives to employers to be a funding mechanism for health insurance for many so that the tax revenues of the country, which are to serve all with equity if not absolute equality, is effectively discriminating against those who have to provide their own health care.

More importantly, the Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans health care, and government employees health care systems impose such a drain on the budget that this is another example of unfairness to those who are not covered. Why should only people over 65 get subsidized health care?
Finally, the problem with the AHCA and the Medicare programs is that they are a boondoggle for the hospital and pharma industries. The public option was sacrificed and we have flawed bill.

Ultimately, the bottom line is that we should extend Medicare to all but use the leverage of the system to negotiate way lower rates or impose price controls.

The argument about incentives and research are bogus. Wal-Mart is content to chase profit pennies at time and it amounts to billions. There is no reason for a drug company to sell a pill for $40 in the US and $1 outside.
 
 
+4 # balconesfalk 2012-07-01 20:46
[quote name="BostonPun dit"]Rain17...W al-Mart is content to chase profit pennies at time and it amounts to billions."]
WalMart is also content to pay their employees so little that they qualify for food stamps. How's that for corporate greed?
 
 
+20 # anna shane 2012-06-30 17:07
I am glad for many reasons, but the biggest one is how awful it is to live in a nation where the working poor get sick and die for lack of medical care. That's depressing, and that's one great reason to be glad that this thing was ruled constitutional. I am also glad for foolish young people who could afford insurance but think they're immortal. When the bad things happen, too late for them. You can get unpaid care when it's late in the game, but it isn't great care. I have far too many friends who can't get coverage and need it. Now they only have to survive until it goes into effect. Even Greece has affordable health care.
 
 
+3 # coberly 2012-06-30 17:11
I think Roberts, and the conservatives, did what they were always going to do. Support Robamney care because it saves the insurance companies and health "industry" from its own greed.

The people will not think of Roberts as a "republican" but as more damn Supreme Court nonsense like integration and bussing. The Republicans... who really wanted this bailout of their friends in Corporate Medicine... can still run against "the mandate" for the next hundred years. It's a win win for them.

And of course the Democrats will get those checks from the Big Donors too.
 
 
+22 # Banichi 2012-06-30 17:33
Whatever Roberts' real motives are, he is no more to be trusted now than before, and like Scalia, should be removed for what he has done. The majority of the citizens have been getting more vocal in the last several years, and with the Citizens United decision and its impact on electoral funding, more and more citizens are waking up and realizing that the court is a political body. Even though it is not supposed to be, it is.

The fact that there is a movement to pass a constitutional amendment that would cancel the Citizens United decision says it all, I think. I would believe that Roberts would make a tactical 'switch' in his ruling on health care, so as to try to head off the constitutional amendment movement.

It is telling that the GOP and TPers have not given up on killing Obamacare, nor has Romney in his campaign speeches. So what does the Roberts switch on health care really mean in the long run if the impact of Citizens United causes a shift in power in the Senate as well as gets Romney elected?

It is a chess game. Stay tuned and don't give up on the constitutional amendment. Push it harder than ever.
 
 
+9 # Johnny 2012-06-30 18:18
That the elite have been able to distract the public from the purpose of Citizens United by focusing on a constitutional amendment shows that their public relations team understands the system brilliantly. Nothing in the constitution makes corporations "people." What makes anybody think that even if there were a constitutional amendment the ruling class and their supreme court would not ignore it the way they already ignore the first 10 amendments?
 
 
+8 # BeaDeeBunker 2012-06-30 22:48
Banichi,
I like the way you think and reason. There is a vast right-wing conspiracy, and they are playing it out right in front of our eyes. The fix is in and has been for quite a long time. These guys play rough, tough and smart.
Roberts didn't 'change sides' he just made a tactical move. The court had been 'winning' for too long and too easily. Citizens United had piled the straw on the camels back to just about breaking point. For the Supreme Court to make a corporation into a person was just too much for the nation to take. Things were beginning to unravel. The hordes were at the gates. If Roberts had allowed the ACA to go down in defeat, that would have been the straw that tipped that camel over and the sharpening stones would have been unwrapped from their oily rags, and the pitchforks would have been sharpened and ready to go. It was a tactical placating move by a pretty good chess player, and an even better follower of marching orders from high above.

McCain and Pallin were put together to ensure that Obama wins...make it a close race, but the GOP and the Kingpins behind them wanted no part of the mess that Cheney/Bush made. Let the upstart attempt to clean up their mess, but memo the GOP in the Congress to pledge not to lift a finger to help, but only to use that stiff finger to poke Obama in the eye at every opportunity.

We have to fight smarter, and quicker.
 
 
+2 # glgarfield 2012-06-30 17:34
Justice Roberts was very clear on WHY he took pains to lead the majority, a philosophy his conservative brethren apparently take an opposite view on.

"When a court confronts an unconstitutiona l statute, its endeavor must be to conserve, not destroy, the legislation."

-- Chief Justice Roberts
 
 
+15 # pappajohn15 2012-06-30 17:39
The most bizarre part of the equation is that BOTH sides wanted the law upheld. It was written by Big Insurance and represents a faux reform of healthcare. The insurance companies own (or are at least STOCKHOLDERS) our government on both sides of the aisle. They were all terrified of true universal health care (Medicare for All).

This was all just kabuki theatre, a dance where conservatives and liberals play their parts, positioning themselves for the coming election, always knowing where the game will end.
 
 
+7 # DavidMG 2012-06-30 17:43
Romney thinks on his firts day he can fire SCOTUS - he loves to fires people - but no one has the courage to tell him otherwise.
 
 
+11 # Susan W 2012-06-30 17:51
He voted for it for the simple reason his rich buddies in the insurance business now have a guarantee of millions more customers and billions more tax dollars. There was nothing altruistic nor princilpled in his action. Had it been turned back the country might have thought about a different approach such as Medicare for all and that would have left the pitiful, poor insurance giants out in the cold.

Roberts is not some saint who saw the light--he's in it for the corporations, pure and simple.
 
 
+3 # Pancho 2012-06-30 18:30
After reading a couple dozen of these responses, it's clear that not more than one or two of the posters at the most read Ruth Bader Ginsburg's opinion. What she had to say will clear up a lot of the speculation.
 
 
+4 # brux 2012-06-30 20:36
Why don't you summarize it for us since you are such a thorough reader? ;-)
 
 
+5 # Virginia 2012-07-01 14:24
Justice Ginsburg made several good analogies including "Between 1966 and 1990, annual federal Medicaid spending grew from $631.6 million to $42.6 billion; state spending rose to $31 billion over the same period." Surely, expansion is a concern for states who oppose minimum wage increases. But let's look at this logically.

Minimum wage in 1968 was $1.60 which today has the spending power of $10.65. Minimum wage today is $7.25 which puts the average wage earner $3.40 behind the economy. If that minimum wage were raised to meet the cost of living the wage earner would not qualify for social services and likely be able to afford healthcare.

The states need to realize that as long as minimum wage lags behind the cost of living they'll be faced with higher costs for social services. Tea Partiers want churches to cover the difference. It's just not a rational expectation.

It looks like the majority of the raises occurred with the demise of the economy - probably for just this reason but Congress, as usual, didn't go far enough in the right (meaning correct) direction.
 
 
+4 # bobby t. 2012-06-30 18:42
hmmm. just thought of something. if any of the court were to retire or die in office during obmama's possible second term, obama will put in a liberal or moderate judge. that will reverse the monetary overthrow of america by the one percent. the court has helped the right since it came out to the right in the gore v case. that decision caused the downfall of the entire world. gore may have reversed the carbon footprint of both us and the emerging world like china and india, etc. now we are gonnas. maybe a little too late even if obama gets into office. the congress is going to still be a mess. glad i am checking out soon. not a whole bunch to look forward to, now that the country is becoming toast.
 
 
+8 # WestWinds 2012-06-30 21:09
This is like closing the barn door after all the horses have gone.

What part of "partisan" don't we get?

I knew it at their nomination BEFORE they were vetted or confirmed and they haven't disappointed, yet.

This may have the look of equanimity but don't be fooled. There is a Right-wing ulterior to this every bit as much as Citizens United.

CJ Roberts isn't the only one responsible for the slip in the Court's credibility. The SCOTUS has been sliding down the slippery slope since Rehnquist called the Florida vote in Dubya's favor, and shenanigans like Roberts and Alito lying to the Congress re stare decisis, and Long Dong Silver not knowing which box to tick five years running on his personal income tax hasn't exactly lent credibility to this Court, either.

We the People are sick of the SCOTUS not doing their jobs properly and we are going to be looking for (1) No more political appointments since this see-saw nonsense between the two parties is getting out of hand; We the People will elect those who will sit on that bench, (2)Term Limits: Each justice will be re-elected every two years with the General and the Mid Term elections, and (3) No one shall occupy a SCOTUS seat for more than an aggregate of twenty years total.

It is high time these clowns get the message that WE ARE MAD AS HELL AND WE'RE NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANY MORE!

Let them clean up their act or get the Hades OUT!
 
 
+9 # Gevurah 2012-06-30 21:35
Nice try, Robert Reich, but I doubt if Roberts gives a flying fig about the reputation of the Court as a whole.

He is just trying to save his *** -- er, legacy, albeit a trifle prematurely, since he is so young. But with his disastrous track record: Citizens United; the bankruptcy debacle; Lily Lebetter; the taking (eminent domain) in New England, plus a host of other less salient cases, everybody knows where he is coming from and why Bush (read: Cheney) appointed him -- to serve Our Corporate Masters.

We can only hope that a merciful Fate removes one of the older dinosaurs so that Obama, if re-elected (yes, hold your nose and vote for him), will have a shot at appointing a few human beings to the Court.

Justice Ginsberg, ya gotta hang in there!
 
 
+10 # Majikman 2012-06-30 21:46
It's not just the poor that suffer under our present system...it's also those who have "good" insurance, savings, and suffer a catastrophic illness that wipes out their entire savings, and slams up against their "lifetime limit". The ACA prevents the insurance companies from shutting off coverage.
 
 
+5 # Susan W 2012-06-30 22:42
So you think that keeping the insurance companies involved but with "regulations", is a solution. That's like putting a muzzle on a pit bull and declaring it a family pet. Some things just have to be eliminated for the good to take place.
 
 
+7 # rockycherry 2012-06-30 22:39
in essence, John Roberts made a practical decision to abandon principle. or perhaps it was a principled decision to abandon principle. how Mittian of him. Given that "Obamacare" is "Romneycare" and the conservative alternative to Medicare/Medica id expansion (single-payer), do you really think that Mitt is upset that SCOTUS upheld the Act? He's not opposed to the bill, he just wants to run against it. And his goal is to "repeal and replace" Obamacare, but with what? Romneycare? Mitt wants to be president, and I have no doubt that he would make a deal with the devil to keep Obamacare to win the election. The idea that a large number of people will vote for Mitt based on promises to repeal a bill that he approved as governor should be preposterous, but it's a likely result. I think those people will be disappointed if Mitt wins, just as the evangelical supporters of Ronald Reagan should have been disappointed when two of his three appointments upheld the right to seek an abortion. (Reagan promoted Rhenquist but Rhenquist was already on the bench)
 
 
-4 # Painter 2012-07-01 00:41
People whose employers offer them health insurance WILL NOT experience themselves having to "purchase health insurance"! I think even Reich gives the wrong impression by writing, ".... '[the] individual mandate' requiring almost all Americans to purchase health insurance..." This is only right in the sense that if employers didn't offer people health insurance, they might pay them more.
 
 
+4 # jlohman 2012-07-01 10:01
Don't be naive. Employers will simply quit providing health care.
 
 
+3 # marjb 2012-07-01 09:11
Why isn't anyone talking about the fact that Roberts' decision just helped to weaken the commerce clause. Now the Federal government is reigned in from using it to get Americans to do something. Based on this ruling the Commerce Clause can only be used to stop actions. So while we got the Affordable Care Act, Roberts got to weaken the Federal Government just a little bit more.
 
 
+6 # mrbadexample 2012-07-01 09:28
Roberts' action preserves HCR in a Frankensteinian form that elevates the power of insurance companies. If he'd voted with Scalia and friends, there was no way to go back to the status quo. And if the mandate is unconstitutiona l, it would've forced energy into a campaign for Medicare for All--people can understand that, and (unlike Obamacare) it doesn't have Walmart employees paying into a for-profit system where one in six premium dollars goes to overhead that includes eight- and nine-figure salaries for CEO's.

This was a pro-corporation vote, in line with Roberts' CITIZENS UNITED Debacle. And SCOTUS made sure their continued partisanship was still on the table by the Montana decision on corporate funds for elections.
 
 
+5 # jlohman 2012-07-01 10:24
Roberts may be a whore, but he is a smart whore. This saves the "mandate" and repeal issue for Romney to use in November. To, in his eyes, win and save our corporatocracy.
 
 
+5 # DavidMG 2012-07-01 10:41
Liberals - we have been had. Although we may get ACA (i.e. if a new Congress does not repeal, new President does not mess with it) - the Commerce Clause has been weakened. Unless you are a lawyer (guilty) you many not know that the Constitution's Commerce clause is the basis of most health, safety, working conditions, product safety. laws etc. This is the big objective of the right – you have heard it before – regulations are 'job killers.' (Funny, the right doesn’t mind just being killers – and I am not exaggerating –take away much regulations and people will die. Just think about the recent mine disaster – there were regs there and people sill died.)
I have had a fortunate life – a poor family, but the benefits of free/inexpensiv e education so none of this will affect me much at 70. But if you have kids Republicans start thinking about the air and water they will consume, their working conditions, the testing done on food and drugs, etc. etc. More the reason for a Democratic administration and Congress. We've been had.
 
 
0 # oldleftie 2012-07-02 19:45
I may be overly optimistic, but, given the complex nature of this case, the shifting majorities on each of the sections, and the uniqueness of the issue namely whether the government can use the commerce clause to justify a law forcing private parties to do business with each other on the government's terms as distinguished from requiring a party to do business with all equally, I think it is likely that future rulings will see the holding here as dicta, since the government's position was affirmed on other grounds.
 
 
+1 # jlohman 2012-07-01 11:34
If ObamaCare were to be deemed unconstitutiona l, so would it have RomneyCare. How about that.
 
 
+4 # allisivy 2012-07-01 12:50
Another explanation is possible- if you look at the spin on Fox news...this was about election politics...givi ng a case to the Republicorps for the election....tax es, taxes, taxes!
 
 
+3 # balconesfalk 2012-07-01 21:29
In all the photos of Roberts I detect what in high school we called an SEG [expletive eating grin.] It looked to me that he was tickled with himself for pulling a fast one. Steering the election campaign rhetoric to the tax notion, away from the Commerce Clause considerations, creating a distracting cacophony to confuse all understanding of what is in the bill or not and deliver the election to the Republicans. Their thrust is as sharply focused as a ramrod--to throw out Obama and his bill, while promising to introduce their own. No bill at all, once elected. Mark my words.
 
 
+2 # oldleftie 2012-07-02 19:47
by now many of you will have seen articles reporting that Romney is saying that it's not about taxes, as he must, because if he doesn't he will face the accusation that his medical care act in Mass. was a tax as well.
 
 
+5 # MylesJ 2012-07-02 12:10
Roberts had his Archbishop of Canterbury moment. He might enjoy seeing the GOP and the Dems play chicken in congress, but he was not going to be the one going down in the record books as destroying the supreme court.
 
 
+1 # JessJuan-d-Ring 2012-07-03 16:25
It's fun to 2nd-guess Roberts' reason for his vote, and Reich may have at least touched on some of it. A friend today said that, instead, Roberts was merely upholding the capital interests of the insuarance companies. For one thing the ACA did, with the individual mandate, was to cement into place the role of private insurance industry as an expensive middleman in health care. Of course, that ensures that an already cost-burdened system would be further strained by the enormous profits of the middlemen.
Roberts may well have been concerned about the declining reputation of the SCOTUS, but I doubt he voted this way primarily for damage control or institutional PR. Rather, an overturning of ACA would likely lead to a renewed push for what really should have been on the table in the 1st place...a Single Payer / public option system.
Now the D's and liberals will be content to defend ACA and its elected supporters; and any further talk of a single payer system will be forestalled for likely very many years.
Not to dismiss the gains made via ACA, but in my opinion, the D's made a huge mistake- both ethically and strategically - by not putting Single Payer / Public Option on the table for discussion. Also IMO, mandatory purchase of insurance probably should have been found unconstitutiona l...but was only necessitated by the poor compromise that is "Obamacare".
 
 
+1 # Faustius 2012-07-04 21:08
Robert's isn't about being conservative or liberal, and never has been. His whole schtick has always been to expand the power of the Federal government, and limit the power of the states.

Whether you're a drugged out former playmate, a liberal president with a law being challenged, or a conservative president disagreeing with a state law, if you want to be heard by the SCOTUS under Roberts make sure your case involves expanding the power of the Federal government.

If you want to win, then make sure your on his side. Anyone who thinks Robert's has converted into a liberal is going to be sorely disappointed the next time a Republican law is being challenged in his court.
 

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