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Obamacare Has Been Breathed Life – Where Do We Go From Here?

I awoke this morning, too late to catch live news of the Supreme Court’s decision regarding Obamacare, and its Constitutionality. A quick look at Twitter, however, both shocked and stupefied me. Confirmation came about the forgone conclusion, that the justices’ votes would be split along a 5-4 line. However, the actual members’ votes, and the way that they split, came as a shock to most on the right.

The Supreme Court Justices

The Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States

We know now, that the court found the Obamacare fiasco/law, legal and Constitutional. The man who most on the right worried about, Justice Anthony Kennedy, actually voted against upholding the law. Kennedy was also credited with one of the harshest opinions for the minority dissent. On page 65 of the dissent, the justices Alito, Kennedy, Scalia, and Thomas found that: “For the reasons here stated, we would find the Act invalid in its entirety.” (emphasis mine)

While many on the right may have heard the decision, and immediately decided to fret, and engage in their best Chicken Little impressions, I think that there are some very important take-aways from today’s proceedings:

  • The battle for universal healthcare is far from over. Indeed, that the battlefield that Obamacare is fought upon is merely shifting, from the Supreme Court, back to Congress, as the law and its funding mechanism, is finally classified as it should have been all along – as a tax, and not as a penalty. It was penalty-based funding that would have sunk the whole thing under the Commerce Clause. As tax-funded, it is my understanding that it will now be actually easier to kill in Congress.
  • The short, but powerful, addendum by Justice Thomas, which stated, yet again, that the Commerce Clause is not a club, used  to  compel action, but that it is a whip, used to correct actions already taking place.
  • The ruling decided, once and for all, that Congress cannot compel Americans to purchase anything by threat of force or penalty.
  •  Unfortunately, today also showed some people on the right, can be as easily stirred up, and they will react like those on the left. While I will admit to being confused at first to the ruling, as I let it slowly process, my reactionary feelings ebbed, and as usual, I began to see some of these silver linings emerge.
  • I found it interesting too, in dissent that the Justices mention that the job of the Supreme Court is to promote and protect the structural freedoms of the American people. I sort of took that as  a, “hey – people wake up, and realize what is going on in this country – pay attention to what is occurring in your name.”

All in all, the result was depressing to me, but with so many doors opened by the decision, I think the sum of the eventual outcomes will paint Roberts as less a goat, and more a hero. The only problem now is, will Congress actually step up to the plate and do what the people want – and will those same people hold that same Congress responsible in November?

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