The outcome of the battle over healthcare before the Supreme Court was preordained. The majority was going to rule against Obama because he called them out in an earlier State of the Union Address over the Citizens United decision. Readers may recall that Alito was shown on TV, sitting in the audience, shaking his head. The hostility of the judges in the way they phrased their questions was payback. On the main issue in the case, the constitutionality of the individual mandate, I agree with those who say it is unconstitutional. I think it’s un-American for the government to force people to buy a specific product or pay a penalty for not doing so. Individuals should have the right not to engage in interstate commerce, if they so choose. Is this a defeat for the Obama administration? Sure. But it is a cloud with a silver lining. As many news commentators have pointed out, the Democrats no longer have to play defense. They can go on the offense against a Supreme Court majority that is bent on imposing its ideology on the body politic. This puts Romney (assuming he is the nominee) in the tricky position of having to explain (again) his authorship of the bill that is the model for Obamacare. Meanwhile, the president and the Democrats are free to criticize a Court that gave us Citizens United and, no doubt, will have other unpleasant surprises in store for us. On March 15, the Wall Street Journal’s law blog carried the results of a poll on the factors that would influence in the Court in reaching a decision. From the Journal’s story: Everyone’s gearing up for the upcoming debate on the health-care law before the Supreme Court at the end of March. Turns out, not a lot of people have faith the case will be decided on its merits. Three-quarters of Americans say the Supreme Court will be influenced by politics when it rules on the constitutionality of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, according to a Bloomberg National Poll. Breaking down the results by political party, more Republicans than Democrats believe the court will be guided by politics, by 74% to 67%. Eighty percent of independents say the court won’t base its decision on just legal merits. The poll also noted that among Tea Party supporters, 81% said politics will play a role in the decision, the highest percentage of any subgroup. In the nine-month term that began October 2010, the justices divided along party lines in a dozen cases, Bloomberg noted. This poll should be an alarm bell for the Court. That 75% of Americans believe it will be guided by politics indicates a deep cynicism about the majority among the electorate. Or perhaps it simply reveals the American people’s belief that politics is broken, and it is hardly a surprise that the Court is not immune from the general disgust toward politics today.
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