Thoughts on the Courts

Posted on March 30, 2012 by

I object to forcing Americans to buy insurance from private companies but I’m worried that a loss in the supreme court will hurt Barack Obama’s re-election chances.

Two years ago, single payer and public option supporters were appalled by the president’s willingness to sell off essential elements of the plan for a senate vote from Joe Lieberman, Olympia Snowe or Arlen Specter.

We suspected that our president was in over his head and had been snookered by clever opponents who sensed his desperation and would use the final and feeble version of the health reform act to beat up democrats in the midterm election and beyond.

Obama is a better president now and it’s likely he will smartly play whatever hand he’s dealt by the supremes.

And it helps that Romney has his own health reform entanglements.

The worst case scenario, certainly, is if the court uses this case to undermine the commerce clause as a pretext to weaken federal health, safety and environmental laws and regulations.

You can image one or more of the court’s democratic appointees – Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor or Kagan – joining the majority in striking down the act in order to limit the scope of the decision.

We wouldn’t be in this mess, of course, if John Kerry hadn’t been such a wimpy candidate in the ’04 election.

Keep in mind that it was at the start of his second term that George Bush appointed Roberts and Alito, shifting the court in its current ultra-conservative direction.

Just think what the supreme court could look like if the republicans win the white house this November.

Comments (4)


  1. Jann Whetstone says:

    A scary thought, that’s only an election away from reality!

  2. Glen Merzer says:

    I think you may be wrong that a Supreme Court ruling against the law will hurt Obama. I say it helps him. First, most importantly, because he won’t be burdened going forward by a law that won’t work. Second, because if you remove the unpopular law from the equation, Dems do better than Reps on the issue of health care–at least people know Dems care. Third, because Romney can’t really take advantage of any Supreme Court ruling. Fourth, it’s a longshot, but hopefully the Supremes leave the rest of the law in place and just remove the absurd mandate (that’s the best scenario). Fifth, a 5-4 decision against the law will fire up the Dem. base while removing the issue that fired up the Tea Party. Finally, maybe Obama will return to what he said he would do when he ran against Hillary–lower insurance rates, not force people against their will to buy insurance from private companies, which was the stupidest idea ever to come down the pike.

    • Kenni Judd says:

      I, too, think Obama would not be badly harmed, and perhaps helped, if SCOTUS shoots down the PPACA. But I disagree with:

      1) The law won’t work. It HAS worked, in those States which have done it, including Mass. Where it hasn’t worked is in the States which have tried to enforce guaranteed coverage and community rating WITHOUT a “mandate” (minimum coverage).

      4) Removing the mandate only would be the best-case scenario. Politically, for right now, _maybe_. The decision will most likely come out this summer, and most plans renew — and up their premiums — in January, after the November elections.

      But without the mandate (which I don’t think is “absurd”), either premiums will soar into even higher orbits, or companies will simply stop writing certain lines; maybe even pull out of certain geographical locations based on the populations. So the next couple-three years that it takes to pass new legislation (single-payer or at least public option) could be pure hell.

  3. Gavin Koon says:

    If Obama’s election hinges only on the healthcare issue, then we are in trouble. However, I do not subcribe to that point of view. One way or another it will play in the election, but by itself I do not think either way it plays out it will change the outcome. You may fault the Heathcare plan but no one will deny there are problems and efforts right or wrong in the larger picture will be appreciated for moving in that direction. I do not agree with Republians trying to make hay out of this by taking an extreme view – they will get some traction with hard conservatives but I have some faith in the general population that some reasonable understanding of the matter exists.

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