Thursday, June 25, 2015 at 4:28 PM

Supreme Court Upholds Obamacare … Again; Will Legalize Same-Sex Marriage … Too

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a key provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and agreed with the Obama administration that government subsidies that make health insurance affordable for millions of Americans should be available to all.

By a 6-3 vote, a divided court affirmed an Internal Revenue Service ruling that subsidies should be available not only in states that have set up their own health insurance exchanges, but also in states where consumers rely on the federal government exchange.

The court was interpreting a passage in the law that said the tax credits are authorized for those who buy health insurance on marketplaces that are ‘established by the state.’ Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said while the law’s wording was problematic, Congress’s intent was clear.

(Washington Post, June 25, 2015)

Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 4.25.45 PMFrankly, I’m not sure why this ruling came as a surprise to anyone who is not a political idiot or a right-wing nutjob.

After all, President Obama was so certain of the outcome, he lamented recently that this latest legal challenge to Obamacare was nothing more than a political stunt unworthy of argument before the Supreme Court. I was so certain Obamacare was beyond legal reproach, here is what I wrote four years ago in “Supreme Court To Rule on Landmark Healthcare Reform,” November 23, 2011.

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Nothing evokes a Pentecostal-like response at Republican rallies quite like when one of Obama’s wannabe successors declares – with the conviction of a born-again Tartuffe – that his/her ‘first act as president will be to repeal Obamacare.’ Mind you, their declaration is invariably animated by the hope that the Supreme Court will rule the healthcare reform law unconstitutional long before they are faced with the manifestly impossible task of honoring their promise to repeal it.

[But] I predict the Court will rule 6-3 to uphold the constitutionality of what is bound to go down in history as the most important achievement of any U.S. president since the Civil Rights bill President Lyndon Johnson signed into law in 1964.

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My prediction has now withstood not just legal challenges before the Supreme Court but political votes in Congress to boot.

Tuesday’s vote is nearly the 60th in the last four years in the House to undermine or repeal the law, since Republicans took over the chamber in 2011.

(The Hill, February 3, 2015)

Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 4.04.01 PMYet, despite (or to spite) today’s ruling, Republicans are already singing their same old tune about repealing Obamacare. In fact, you might think they regard denying poor Americans affordable healthcare as an article of faith, which shall never be broken.

But, just as Obama did not think their challenges to Obamacare worthy of argument before the Supreme Court, I do not think their cult-like pledge to repeal Obamacare worthy of any further comment in this forum.

I will only add that anyone who votes this time around for a presidential candidate based on his/her promise to repeal Obamacare is a certifiable fool. For, as George W. Bush once tried to say: fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

Meanwhile, right-wing political pundits masquerading as legal analysts are expressing shock and dismay that conservative Chief Justice John Roberts has, once again, not only sided with liberal justices, but taken it upon himself to write the Court’s opinion upholding Obamacare.

Same-Sex-Marriage-Supreme-CourtWell, these same pundits will probably be expressing even greater shock and dismay tomorrow after the Court hands down its ruling on whether a state can ban same-sex marriages, and whether a state must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

As it happens – in “Supreme Court Hears Legal Fight for/against Same-Sex Marriages,” March 26, 2013 – I provided a little insight into Roberts’s judicial philosophy, which proved prescient with respect to Obamacare, and should prove equally so with respect to same-sex marriages.

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Legal, political, and religious pundits are doing their best to ape sports analysts by offering all kinds of putative insights on how the court will rule. Most notable is speculation that, because conservative Chief Justice John Roberts has a lesbian first cousin, he will side with liberal justices in favor of gay rights…

Yet, to be fair to Justice Roberts, a report in the August 5, 2005, edition of the New York Times makes clear that he has a record of providing pro-bono legal advice to gay activists. Which is why it’s unfortunate that his lesbian first cousin has been giving media interviews … insinuating that, based on their relationship alone, ‘he will do the right thing.’

I am willing to bet my life savings that the Court will overturn California’s ban and rule DOMA unconstitutional. To do otherwise would make a mockery of the equal protection, liberty, and Full Faith and Credit clauses of the Constitution.

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Roberts did the right thing on Obamacare; and he’ll do the right thing on same-sex marriages.

Never mind that, given this Court’s ruling in previous cases on same-sex marriages, there really shouldn’t be so much suspense surrounding this one. Except that I suppose cable news networks would have nothing to report if they did not manufacture breaking news as often as they report it….

Related commentaries:
Supreme Court Obamacare
Supreme Court same-sex marriages

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