President Obama is taking a sizable risk asking the SCOTUS, through the DOJ, to review the decision of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeal. In that decision the 11th ruled the “must purchase insurance” individual mandate is unconstitutional. Obama’s risk comes because he is asking the SCOTUS to rule on his one and only piece of legislation of any significance. If the SCOTUS rules that the mandate is constitutional, then Obama can rack that up a big win and campaign on how he is allowing even more people to suckle at the teat of government. If he loses, he runs the risk of his one landmark piece of legislation being rendered moot. This would more than likely end any serious run for a second term (we can only hope).
Stephanie Cutter, Deputy Senior Advisor the President Obama, posted this on her White House blog:
Just as challenges to the Social Security Act, the Civil Rights Act, and the Voting Rights Act all failed, challenges to health reform are failing as well. The Administration has already prevailed in cases heard in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and the FourthCircuit Court of Appeals. (Source: White House)
Well, why don’t we take a very quick gander at these rulings they feel are precedent. First of all, none of these laws and subsequent judgments were laws that dictated inactivity. In essence, the individual mandate requires people to participate, i.e. purchase insurance. This is the first time in our history anyone has actually required someone purchase something. While the White House points out the Social Security Act passed all legal challenges, remember that it passed through a SCOTUS that was packed with FDR appointees. You think those judges were going to go against a president that appointed them? In the case of the Civil Rights and Voting Acts, these did not require people to move from inaction to action. It required a change in action (the right to vote in federal elections and the stopping legalized discrimination). Totally different ball game.
The bottom line here is that the individual mandate requires people to purchase something. It is no different if the federal government said we had to buy a GM car. The Commerce Clause of the 10th Amendment prevents the government from dictating our purchase choices.