The Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear challenges to President Barack Obama’s health care reform law – but it’s not all clear that the court will decide anything soon.
Although the court set the stage for an epic, five-and-a-half-hour oral argument in the midst of the 2012 presidential race, it also signaled that it could punt a decision on the individual mandate until 2014. In accepting the challenges to the law, the court said it would devote an hour of the argument to the effect of the Anti-Injunction Act – a law that, in the view of some courts, could prohibit a ruling on the individual mandate until the mandate goes into effect in 2014. (Source: Politico)
While on one hand I really look forward to getting a ruling on this bill that is most likely unconstitutional, I have concerns. Two members of the Court should most likely recues themselves as Justices Sotomayor and Kagan both had a hand in engineering the bill. While those two Obama appointees didn’t really shift the balance of the court, those they replaced didn’t have a dog in the Health Care fight and might have actually ruled on the side of the bill being unconstitutional.
Of course, the biggest concern is Justice Kennedy. He is considered more on the conservative side of the court, but has thrown an occasional curveball. Essentially, he is the swing vote.
As Obama’s signature piece of legislation for President Obama, popular opinion says the SCOTUS’s decision could make or break his run for a second term. I have a slightly different view. If the court rules against Obama, then I think we can put a fork in his campaign and call it done (as in over). If the court rules in his favor, I really don’t think, as some believe, that it will clear the path for his second term. Personally, I think there is better than good chance that if the court rules in his favor, it will cause a significant ground swell that will really turn the tide against his reelection. The Health Care bill is already quite unpopular as evidenced by the pounding democrats took in 2010 and if the individual mandate is ruled constitutional, I really do think Obama will be even more Jimmy Carteresque than he is now.
But I could be wrong. Obama might still have some of that magic he had in 2008 when he overtook the presumed nominee, Hilary Clinton, then pounding John McCain in the election. The guy does have a way with words, even if those words are written for him and projected on a tele-prompter. Plus he has something many of the Republican nominees don’t have, and that is an ability to energize his base. If the 2012 turnout is lackluster, that energy could overcome a lot.
If you one of the many who wants to see Obama gone in 2012, please make sure that you get your butt to the polls, even if the nominee is (yuck) Romney.