Will SCOTUS punt to 2014 on ObamaCare?

posted at 2:35 pm on February 21, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

In a series of unusual moves, the Supreme Court announced that it would extend oral arguments on the lawsuits against ObamaCare to six hours, extending the record for the length of time dedicated to a case in modern court history.  The court also appointed two outside attorneys to debate a question that neither Republicans or Democrats want to raise, and it might provide the justices with an avenue to punt on the merits of ObamaCare for another two years:

The court will now spend an hour and a half determining whether it can make a ruling before the mandate takes effect in 2014. A separate federal law, known as the Anti-Injunction Act, bars lawsuits over new taxes until those taxes have taken effect.

The states, NFIB and the Obama administration all say the Anti-Injunction Act should not stop the court from ruling on the healthcare mandate. But in part because a lower court cited the law, the justices have to consider it.

The court will hear from a third-party attorney for 40 minutes and the Justice Department for 30 minutes. NFIB and the states will get 20 minutes.

TPM DC’s Sahil Kapur notes that this could just be due diligence — or a way to get off the hook for a ruling on the core issues for another two years:

The Supreme Court is poised to rule this summer on the constitutionality of the health care reform law’s requirement that Americans buy insurance or pay a tax penalty. But it has the legal option to delay a decision until at least 2014, and although the possibility has received little attention, new evidence suggests that justices are considering it more strongly.

The temporary escape hatch involves the Anti-Injunction Act, an age-old law that says courts may not halt a tax that isn’t yet being collected. (Under the Affordable Care Act, it won’t be collected until 2014.) Although the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals last fall tossed out a lawsuit against the mandate on this basis, most courts have decreed that the statute doesn’t apply here. …

This might just be the high court doing its due diligence — the expectation remains that a final decision will be handed down by the end of June. But observers have noted that, judicial reasoning aside, Chief Justice John Roberts in particular may not want the Supreme Court to become an election-year piñata so soon after the 2010 Citizens United ruling. No matter the decision, the court is expected to take plenty of heat from the losing side.

I’m inclined to believe that this is a way to make sure that the court has covered all its bases before making what is likely to be one of the most important Supreme Court decisions in decades.  Complicating this consideration is the Obama administration’s vacillating stands on whether ObamaCare’s mandate penalties are a tax at all.  They’re arguing that it is a tax in order to bolster their argument that the mandate is based on firm constitutional grounds, but publicly have either denied or downplayed the tax argument in order to avoid being accused of imposing a massive tax hike on the middle class.  The legal argument will take precedence, but attorneys opposing the mandate will be sure to note those occasions when the administration that uses the tax argument in legal briefs told the American people the opposite.

Also, the Supreme Court granted cert in these ObamaCare cases on a rather accelerated schedule.  Had they wanted to avoid making a ruling before the election, they could have easily waited until other cases on a broader range of issues cleared the appellate courts.  For instance, Ave Maria University filed suit today over the HHS contraception mandate, and it’s not difficult to imagine more lawsuits on emerging issues that all relate back to the federal government’s power to rule by diktat through ObamaCare.

Instead, they granted cert fairly quickly and committed to an early resolution, which looks much more like they want to address the core issues before the law goes into effect.  The extended argument over the AIA may be just to satisfy a minority of justices that this acceleration is legitimate in order to get them on board an eventual and comprehensive resolution to the dispute.

Update: Er … series of unusual moves, not serious.  Time for more coffee.


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In a serious of unusual moves

Do you mean “a series”?

And it wouldn’t surprise me if they did move this out past the elections.

Nineball on February 21, 2012 at 2:37 PM

No.

NotCoach on February 21, 2012 at 2:38 PM

The most important case the court has ever decided, One that will determine whether we will go on to be a free nation or a third world scat hole and they might PUNT!!

Chip on February 21, 2012 at 2:38 PM

If romneycare has anything to say about it they will!

Can you believe, the author of Obamacare is running for president AS A FREAKIN REPUBLICAN AND IS FAVORED BY THE ESTABLISHMENT!

This is incredible to me!

Danielvito on February 21, 2012 at 2:38 PM

It would be a big favor to Obama if they did.

The decision is going to hurt him no matter which way it goes.

forest on February 21, 2012 at 2:42 PM

I don’t see why they would accept the case only to punt it down the field. Not happening.

echosyst on February 21, 2012 at 2:42 PM

The extended argument over the AIA may be just to satisfy a minority of justices that this acceleration is legitimate in order to get them on board an eventual and comprehensive resolution to the dispute.

I can imagine 2 to 4 justices playing politics and looking for an out. Also, if this is a serious argument it actually needs to be settled before any other issue concerning the mandate can be ruled on. They will rule on this particular point first. At least in private they will. We may get one giant ruling publicly covering everything.

NotCoach on February 21, 2012 at 2:44 PM

I don’t see why they would accept the case only to punt it down the field. Not happening.

echosyst on February 21, 2012 at 2:42 PM

They had no choice but to accept the case because of conflicting lower court rulings in various districts. This would be the wish casters solution to the problem though. Punting in this manner invalidates all lower court rulings as well.

NotCoach on February 21, 2012 at 2:46 PM

Given the serious nature of this case, and the HUGH economic impact; if SCOTUS really wants to piss people off and further lose respect and credibility, by all means, go ahead and punt.

Just think of all the rules and regulations that Her Highness of Health Care will be able to dream up over the next 2 years; “the HHS Secretary shall decide”, “the HHS Secretary shall determine”, “the HHS Secretary shall promulgate”.

Yeah, we really need this farce to continue for 2 more years.

GarandFan on February 21, 2012 at 2:48 PM

Sure, they can’t stop a tax in motion. And then when the program goes in, somebody might argue an “Equal Protection” case, where the 9th circuit just overturned Californian referendum because the state had to show and overriding interest in taking something away once it was granted. I may be off the wall, but I’m seeing the makings of a ratchet, here.

Axeman on February 21, 2012 at 2:51 PM

If romneycare has anything to say about it they will!

Can you believe, the author of Obamacare is running for president AS A FREAKIN REPUBLICAN AND IS FAVORED BY THE ESTABLISHMENT!

This is incredible to me!

Danielvito on February 21, 2012 at 2:38 PM

I think we are stuck with it, because more than likely either Obama(care) or Romney(care) will be president. SCOTUS is our only hope, but for how long?

neuquenguy on February 21, 2012 at 2:51 PM

Obama’s cronies (DOJ) could have gotten this expedited to SCOTUS months and months ago and chose not to.

CoffeeLover on February 21, 2012 at 2:52 PM

Allow me to write the opinion of the majority – it won’t take long:

WHEREAS, in the past, it was assumed, wrongly, that the representatives of the People were to serve at the behest of the People, and that the power of the government was to be limited and, in fact, restrained by the power of the People.

WE NOW FIND, AND IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED THAT:

The Commerce Clause was written, by our Founding Fathers, so as to provide the State with unlimited power over the People. That nothing in today’s society isn’t touched by interstate commerce. That the People are to be managed in their affairs, and for their own good.

Accordingly, the People will now serve the unrestrained State, for their own good.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

OhEssYouCowboys on February 21, 2012 at 2:52 PM

Can you believe, the author of Obamacare is running for president AS A FREAKIN REPUBLICAN AND IS FAVORED BY THE ESTABLISHMENT!

This is incredible to me!

Danielvito on February 21, 2012 at 2:38 PM

Yeah, and I will vote for him or his FDR-loving cousin (Gingrich) if it comes down to it.

Axeman on February 21, 2012 at 2:53 PM

I agree with Ed’s reasoning that they’re trying to cover their bases.

The extended argument over the AIA may be just to satisfy a minority of justices that this acceleration is legitimate in order to get them on board an eventual and comprehensive resolution to the dispute.

This makes sense to me.

Something else I saw on FOX News this morning. The Heritage Foundation has come out with new info on the huge spike of earmarks and grants given to Dem Reps by the WH to buy votes on cap and trade and ObamaCare.

INC on February 21, 2012 at 2:56 PM

In the mean time…

… Let us create the bureaucracies, purchase buildings, hire the 500,000 employees, purchase the computers and database, office furniture, vehicles, hire the administration, human resources, pension plan, join the union, start accrual of vacation days, create manuals, training programs, health insurance, day care centers, affirmative action plan, publish materials in 200+ languages, outreach programs, and tie the anual budgets into the base line budgeting process for a government program that could be unconstitutional.

Once entrenched, regardless of the SCOTUS’s decision, Obowmacare will be a fact of life…

Seven Percent Solution on February 21, 2012 at 2:56 PM

Meanwhile, we’re arguing over a “law” that that had a reconciliation bill passed on March 21, 2010 for the “law” to be reconciled. which didn’t even come into existence until March 23, 2010, and that could only be lied into looking like it wasn’t a fiscal drain by forcing four years of payment subservience for nothing (well, those early payments are the cost of “reconciliation” for a law that didn’t even exist when it was being reconciled). Yep. That same set of time traveling laws were argued to be anything but taxes, but now they live in court as nothing but taxes. This is a mockery of civil society.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on February 21, 2012 at 2:58 PM

Maybe SCOTUS is waiting for Obama to be replaced by a GOP President and Ginsburg retires in 2014 and a conservative judge is elected to the bench and SCOTUS has a solid majority vote and shoot this POS down.

That’s a lot of powerful stuff packed in one tiny sentence.

timberline on February 21, 2012 at 3:00 PM

When will the SCOTUS make it’s ruling by? I hope the SCOTUS strikes down Obamacare, it seems that this is all hanging on Kennedy.

Raquel Pinkbullet on February 21, 2012 at 3:01 PM

Can you believe, the author of Obamacare is running for president AS A FREAKIN REPUBLICAN AND IS FAVORED BY THE ESTABLISHMENT!

This is incredible to me!

Danielvito on February 21, 2012 at 2:38 PM

You give him way to much credit. The roots of Obamacare 40+ years old and 2200 pages Romneycare 70 pages and then Governor Romney veto it to to be over ruled by the state house.

Maybe Obamacare is not all that bad if the 40+ years in the making the Democrat crowing achievement is written by the Republican establishment.

tjexcite on February 21, 2012 at 3:02 PM

The legal argument will take precedence, but attorneys opposing the mandate will be sure to note those occasions when the administration that uses the tax argument in legal briefs told the American people the opposite.

The Florida district court judge noted the inconsistency in the administration’s positions in his opinion. It’s in the record. One looks forward to Scalia jumping right into this just after the Solicitor General says, “May it please the court…”

Wethal on February 21, 2012 at 3:03 PM

Just think of all the rules and regulations that Her Highness of Health Care will be able to dream up over the next 2 years; “the HHS Secretary shall decide”, “the HHS Secretary shall determine”, “the HHS Secretary shall promulgate”.

Doesn’t the new president get to appoint his own HHS Sec?

VBMax on February 21, 2012 at 3:03 PM

O/T,BachmannOverDriveTitaniumSpine runs again!

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann says she’ll run in new 6th district, after redistricting plan announced

Submitted 10 mins ago from http://www.startribune.com
http://www.breakingnews.com/
============================

http://www.startribune.com/politics/blogs/139836973.html

canopfor on February 21, 2012 at 3:03 PM

One thing is certain: you cannot predict SCOTUS with any accuracy.

There is a strong conservative argument for declining to intervene: the election could well resolve the political question. The Court would always prefer political resolution to major policy questions, and that is a good thing.

OTOH, the facts on the ground argue that if ObamaCare is allowed to proceed it may be too late to rebuild the insurance and health benefits industry and structures after they were forced to prepare to comply with it ever since 2009. You can’t put off extinguishing the fire because it will go out on its own when the house is just ashes.

Again, predictions about the Court are pretty worthless, but if I had to bet on the meaning, I’d go with they are reviewing the Anti-Injunction statute to ensure they can’t be accused of judicial activism by striking down the law.

Adjoran on February 21, 2012 at 3:04 PM

When will the SCOTUS make it’s ruling by? I hope the SCOTUS strikes down Obamacare, it seems that this is all hanging on Kennedy.

Raquel Pinkbullet on February 21, 2012 at 3:01 PM

Usually the last opinions of the term are released in early July, before the Court recesses until October.

Wethal on February 21, 2012 at 3:04 PM

Can you believe, the author of Obamacare is running for president AS A FREAKIN REPUBLICAN AND IS FAVORED BY THE ESTABLISHMENT!

This is incredible to me!

Danielvito on February 21, 2012 at 2:38 PM

That is what happens every 4 yrs, with the same crowd voting perceived electability over principles. I guess we learned nothing from McVain 2008, Dole 1996, Ford 1976, etc.

Raquel Pinkbullet on February 21, 2012 at 3:05 PM

The most important case the court has ever decided, One that will determine whether we will go on to be a free nation or a third world scat hole and they might PUNT!!

Chip on February 21, 2012 at 2:38 PM

Helloieeeee, New York is using Predator Drones to spy on it’s citizens, Drones given them by Obama, and you think that Obamacare will determine whether we will go on to be a free nation or a third world scat hole, sorry, we’re already a Third World Hellhole.

George Orwell pick up the Red courtesy Phone Please.

SWalker on February 21, 2012 at 3:05 PM

Once entrenched, regardless of the SCOTUS’s decision, Obowmacare will be a fact of life…

Seven Percent Solution on February 21, 2012 at 2:56 PM

Seven Percent Solution:Man,you nailed that one!:)

canopfor on February 21, 2012 at 3:05 PM

Doesn’t the new president get to appoint his own HHS Sec?

VBMax on February 21, 2012 at 3:03 PM

He gets everything. A new head of HHS, a new head of the EPA, a new head of Homeland Security….Obama has done so much with agency regulations and executive orders, but the next president can set his own agenda, too.

Wethal on February 21, 2012 at 3:06 PM

They’re arguing that it is a tax in order to bolster their argument that the mandate is based on firm constitutional grounds, but publicly have either denied or downplayed the tax argument in order to avoid being accused of imposing a massive tax hike on the middle class.

“Damned if I do, and damned if I don’t.” ~~Barry O

timberline on February 21, 2012 at 3:07 PM

Usually the last opinions of the term are released in early July, before the Court recesses until October.

Wethal on February 21, 2012 at 3:04 PM

Thanks. So all the opinions are published together at the same time in July? No chance that they rule in say April?

Raquel Pinkbullet on February 21, 2012 at 3:07 PM

If romneycare has anything to say about it they will!

Can you believe, the author of Obamacare is running for president AS A FREAKIN REPUBLICAN AND IS FAVORED BY THE ESTABLISHMENT!

This is incredible to me!

Danielvito on February 21, 2012 at 2:38 PM

If there was a problem with Romneycare in Mass. the SCOTUS would have heard it long before this. The Obamacare is now in front of them…Makes you wonder if the two are alike and why one is okay and the other not. Never mind …I’m not the least interested in any diatribe, thanks anyway.

rich801 on February 21, 2012 at 3:11 PM

Chip on February 21, 2012 at 2:38 PM

Dude .. THE most important decision ever … nope ….
important .. you betcha … but hardly the most important ….

conservative tarheel on February 21, 2012 at 3:14 PM

If I had any confidence that it would be declared unconstitutional, I’d say decide it now. But instead of either or, I’d prefer they punt now. It gives us two election cycles to beef up Congress to remove it completely off the table and do something to ensure it won’t resurrect itself. Namely repeal the 16th and replace it with something that requires the consent of all 57 State’s consent on anything to do with taxes not expressly enumerated.

AH_C on February 21, 2012 at 3:16 PM

Thanks. So all the opinions are published together at the same time in July? No chance that they rule in say April?

Raquel Pinkbullet on February 21, 2012 at 3:07 PM

No they roll them out as they go through the court term. They released a couple today that were argued earlier in the term, and are expected to release more tomorrow.

But Obamacare will likely be the last released. They tend to leave the big ones for last, if only because it probably takes so long to get the opinions (majority, concurrence, dissents) together.

And there are three basic issues: the individual mandate, the mandate on state for medicaid funding, and the severablity of Obamacare (can they strike down one part or is the whole thing so inter-related that the whole law falls).

Sorting out the opinions will take time, as one justice might vote yes on one issue, and no on another, or even yes for different reasons than the other yesse.

Wethal on February 21, 2012 at 3:16 PM

6-3 ruling making it unconstitutional (because, hello, it is!). Sotomayer will be the surprise 6th judge.

SouthernGent on February 21, 2012 at 3:16 PM

The fix is already in folks. I hate to say it but it’s true. The ONLY way Obombacare is going to be defeated, repealed, etc, is if WE, the majority of people who are against this nation-killing monstrosity, hold those that made it happen, accountable. We have to also ensure that anyone who is for it, never gets elected in the first place. So anyone for it has to be defeated in congressional elections.

Let’s face it, if we’re depending on SCOTUS to defeat this thing, we’re going to be VERY disappointed. If they happen to take it up before it’s fully in effect, and happen to surprise us and strike it down, great. They will have proven they collectively have a brain.

But the fact is, our only real chance that we have any control over, is to boot out anyone that enabled it and defeat anyone up for election that’s for it. It’s our only hope.

I’ll also throw in my obligatory…we are SO screwed.

Meople on February 21, 2012 at 3:17 PM

Which four (or more) Justices granted cert?

RedSoxNation on February 21, 2012 at 3:17 PM

Thanks. So all the opinions are published together at the same time in July? No chance that they rule in say April?

Raquel Pinkbullet on February 21, 2012 at 3:07 PM

There is no way to tell. The decision will come when the decision comes. There may be several opinions on this case that all need to be written before any are released.

It will be some time between April and when the court ends for the year.

cozmo on February 21, 2012 at 3:17 PM

Maybe SCOTUS is waiting for Obama to be replaced by a GOP President and Ginsburg retires in 2014 and a conservative judge is elected to the bench and SCOTUS has a solid majority vote and shoot this POS down.

That’s a lot of powerful stuff packed in one tiny sentence.

timberline on February 21, 2012 at 3:00 PM

A. what if the Iwon … is reelected ?

B. what if Romney wins and appoints a liberal judge to replace Ginsburg ….

conservative tarheel on February 21, 2012 at 3:18 PM

conservative tarheel on February 21, 2012 at 3:18 PM

I think the court realizes that this must be decided before 2013.

Besides, the world ends this year anyway.

cozmo on February 21, 2012 at 3:21 PM

A. what if the Iwon … is reelected ?

B. what if Romney wins and appoints a liberal judge to replace Ginsburg ….

conservative tarheel on February 21, 2012 at 3:18 PM

A) the people have spoken. By reelecting Oboobi, they obviously want it

B) Once again, the GOP will have betrayed us.

AH_C on February 21, 2012 at 3:25 PM

If romneycare has anything to say about it they will!
Can you believe, the author of Obamacare is running for president AS A FREAKIN REPUBLICAN AND IS FAVORED BY THE ESTABLISHMENT!
This is incredible to me!
Danielvito on February 21, 2012 at 2:38 PM

That’s because the Republican party came up with Obamacare first. It’s why one day we’ll have to realize our home is not with them. They may as well be democrats.

Not a single liberal model of a proposed health care system looked like it, but all the republican ones did.

Boomer_Sooner on February 21, 2012 at 3:25 PM

PS, The first judge on Mittness’, or any other GOP POTUS, SCOTUS list should be Janice Brown.

AH_C on February 21, 2012 at 3:26 PM

Besides, the world ends this year anyway.

cozmo on February 21, 2012 at 3:21 PM

…please tell me there isn’t another antiquated ‘prophecy’ being dredged up and that you just meant that in general.

MelonCollie on February 21, 2012 at 3:26 PM

PS, The first judge on Mittness’, or any other GOP POTUS, SCOTUS list should be Janice Brown.

AH_C on February 21, 2012 at 3:26 PM

Toally agree! She was royally screwed by Chuck Schumer and the democrats.

SouthernGent on February 21, 2012 at 3:31 PM

6-3 ruling making it unconstitutional (because, hello, it is!). Sotomayer will be the surprise 6th judge.

SouthernGent on February 21, 2012 at 3:16 PM

What on earth would make you think that? I’d like to believe it but Sotomayor seems like a full-throated lefty to me.

Bitter Clinger on February 21, 2012 at 3:37 PM

I’m inclined to believe that this is a way to make sure that the court has covered all its bases before making what is likely to be one of the most important Supreme Court decisions in decades.

Uhhhm … no.

What this is … is GOP Establishment Judges who have just as much testosterone running through their veins as their counterparts Mitch McConnell and John Boehner – which is to say, they HAVE NO TESTOSTERONE running through their veins.

The Republicans on this court are scared shirtless of having to address this issue. And that’s the sorry damned truth of it.

Democratic Presidents have BALLS and they appoint judges who advocate proudly for the liberal cause – they don’t turn to the other side the way the establishment appointed GOP ones do.

HondaV65 on February 21, 2012 at 3:39 PM

Wasn’t part of the scheme that the public would be paying for a few years before it kicked in to drop the 10 year cost estimate?

If that is part of the package then we have already been paying for the law, even if the mandate portion hasn’t been put in place: the prepratory work to put it in place is being done and if the mandate isn’t constitutional then paying for it certainly isn’t, either.

And if it isn’t a tax, as was argued when it was passed, then it should go directly to arguments this year.

The SCOTUS may try to do their wordsmithing, but the law can’t be avoided NOW and it is being put in place NOW with tax money. They can’t have it both ways and neither can the administration although it will try everything to delay a decision at this point to get it out of the election cycle.

ajacksonian on February 21, 2012 at 3:43 PM

Doesn’t the new president get to appoint his own HHS Sec?

VBMax on February 21, 2012 at 3:03 PM

He gets everything. A new head of HHS, a new head of the EPA, a new head of Homeland Security….Obama has done so much with agency regulations and executive orders, but the next president can set his own agenda, too.

Wethal on February 21, 2012 at 3:06 PM

So all those ladies who got free contraception so they could boink anything that moves without being Punished With a Baby will then have to report to the mandatory pregnancy camps once President Santorum’s Secretary of Health and Human Services is ensconced in office.

/

What goes around comes around. And these people always assume that any overreach they put into practice will never come back to bite them in the butt later.

Lily on February 21, 2012 at 3:44 PM

1) If it’s a tax, SCOTUS will rule in favor of Congress’ authority to impose taxes, so ObamaCare will be de facto constitutional. They might not be able to publish their opinion for two years, but deeming it a tax gives us the decision.

2) If it’s not a tax, then there is no cause to delay the decision.

But isn’t that what the case is all about in the first place: whether it’s a tax (within Congressional authority) or not (outside of Congressional authority)? This doesn’t really change anything – it just gives us the outside limit of how long we have to repeal the d**ned thing.

ss396 on February 21, 2012 at 3:48 PM

Wasn’t part of the scheme that the public would be paying for a few years before it kicked in to drop the 10 year cost estimate?

If that is part of the package then we have already been paying for the law, even if the mandate portion hasn’t been put in place: the prepratory work to put it in place is being done and if the mandate isn’t constitutional then paying for it certainly isn’t, either.

And if it isn’t a tax, as was argued when it was passed, then it should go directly to arguments this year.

The SCOTUS may try to do their wordsmithing, but the law can’t be avoided NOW and it is being put in place NOW with tax money. They can’t have it both ways and neither can the administration although it will try everything to delay a decision at this point to get it out of the election cycle.

ajacksonian on February 21, 2012 at 3:43 PM

It’s the penalty one would have to pay for failing to buy insurance that is being debated as a tax/no-tax. That, of course, has not yet kicked in.

Bitter Clinger on February 21, 2012 at 3:50 PM

What goes around comes around. And these people always assume that any overreach they put into practice will never come back to bite them in the butt later.

Lily on February 21, 2012 at 3:44 PM

I was shouting this from the rooftops when the ‘Patriot’ Acts were being rushed through in a wave of post-9/11 hysteria.

And when Obummer got elected, they and some other laws promptly got used against conservatives, to the point of classifying many of them as “terrorists”.

Then I got called every name in the book when I started telling them “you happy now?”

MelonCollie on February 21, 2012 at 3:51 PM

ss396 on February 21, 2012 at 3:48 PM

Congress’ authority to tax is not unlimited. Congress cannot sidestep Constitutional limits by just calling anything a tax and charging people money.

No matter what the penalty is, ObamaCare is still un-Constitutional and should have been fast-tracked and killed already as it is that big of an affront to America.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on February 21, 2012 at 3:52 PM

But the fact is, our only real chance that we have any control over, is to boot out anyone that enabled it and defeat anyone up for election that’s for it. It’s our only hope.

Meople is so correct here. We the people need to vote out those who helped to bring this nightmare legislation on us. Depending on the Supreme Court does not give me comfort or hope. I trust you guys more than I trust anyone in DC.

jazzuscounty on February 21, 2012 at 3:53 PM

But observers have noted that, judicial reasoning aside, Chief Justice John Roberts in particular may not want the Supreme Court to become an election-year piñata so soon after the 2010 Citizens United ruling. No matter the decision, the court is expected to take plenty of heat from the losing side.

Nonsense. Chief Justice Roberts understands his job is to interpret the law and not to make public policy. He’s not going to intentionally “throw” a case to avoid deciding it during an election year.

The anti-injunction act argument is silly, and that’s why the DOJ has abandoned it. The mandate is not a tax, and there’s no serious dispute that the plaintiffs lack standing to seek a finding of ObamaCare’s unconstitutionality right now.

The Court is likely allowing the issue to be argued because the Fourth Circuit raised this argument in its decision.

Outlander on February 21, 2012 at 4:00 PM

I was shouting this from the rooftops when the ‘Patriot’ Acts were being rushed through in a wave of post-9/11 hysteria.

And when Obummer got elected, they and some other laws promptly got used against conservatives, to the point of classifying many of them as “terrorists”.

Then I got called every name in the book when I started telling them “you happy now?”

MelonCollie on February 21, 2012 at 3:51 PM

Totally with you there. The Patriot Act is a piece of crap that the FF warned us against. Look at it from their POV. They were “terrorists” in the eyes of King George. They risked being killed for treason under Georgie’s version of the “Patriotic Colonist Act”. And coming out of that experience, they explicitly enumerated all the acts of “treason/terror” as inalienable rights of the citizens and sealed it with the presumption of innocent UNTIL proven guilty.

Yet TSA treats frail elderly old ladies as a potential bomber, until they prove in humiliating fashion that they indeed are “innocent”. I’d rather run the risk of one turning out to be a successful Depends bomber on an A380 chock full of passengers than subject any American to pre-boarding screenings. That and the citizens be permitted to bear arms on their persons even while on a flight or in a courtroom. That is what democracy liberty looks like.

AH_C on February 21, 2012 at 4:01 PM

Guys the actual wording in the bill is “penalty.” It is not a tax and it never was a tax. Neither is the JAIL TIME.

dogsoldier on February 21, 2012 at 4:02 PM

The Constitution isn’t a guiding document, anymore. It’s a document that is to be kicked around until it meets with the approval of the politics of the majority of the Court.

It says what the politics of the majority say it says.

OhEssYouCowboys on February 21, 2012 at 4:06 PM

And when Obummer got elected, they and some other laws promptly got used against conservatives, to the point of classifying many of them as “terrorists”.

Then I got called every name in the book when I started telling them “you happy now?”

MelonCollie on February 21, 2012 at 3:51 PM

Yep, overreach is overreach. It doesn’t matter who does it first because it will ALWAYS come around to get you in the end.

Lily on February 21, 2012 at 4:10 PM

Nothing surprises me. If the court doesn’t make a decision on this, it’s proof that no one has guts any more. If they punt, I really believe it’s time for a constitutional convention. If this law is constitutional, it’s time to change the constitution.

bflat879 on February 21, 2012 at 4:16 PM

If there was a problem with Romneycare in Mass. the SCOTUS would have heard it long before this.

rich801

If they’re dragging their feet on an interstate commerce matter, I’m quite sure SCOTUS run the other way from with an intrastate commerce matter.

Knott Buyinit on February 21, 2012 at 4:52 PM

The court would not have taken the case if they felt they could not rule on it. Wishful thinking from the left!

cw10036 on February 21, 2012 at 4:52 PM

The most important case the court has ever decided, One that will determine whether we will go on to be a free nation or a third world scat hole and they might PUNT!!

Chip on February 21, 2012 at 2:38 PM

If they punt and Obama is re-elected, he could replace Justice Scalia or Thomas by Soto-clone and the mandate will be etched in stone. This case needs to be decided THIS year!

Steve Z on February 21, 2012 at 4:55 PM

PS, The first judge on Mittness’, or any other GOP POTUS, SCOTUS list should be Janice Brown John Yoo.

AH_C

Then Janice Brown, by all means.

Knott Buyinit on February 21, 2012 at 4:57 PM

PS, The first judge on Mittness’, or any other GOP POTUS, SCOTUS list should be Janice Brown.

AH_C on February 21, 2012 at 3:26 PM

Why not Miguel Estrada, the truly Wise Latino?

Steve Z on February 21, 2012 at 5:01 PM

Doesn’t the new president get to appoint his own HHS Sec?

VBMax on February 21, 2012 at 3:03 PM
He gets everything. A new head of HHS, a new head of the EPA, a new head of Homeland Security….Obama has done so much with agency regulations and executive orders, but the next president can set his own agenda, too.

Wethal on February 21, 2012 at 3:06 PM

And when I get to presidentin’, I be mandatin’ a King James Bible and Sig P238 for every citizen.

Nutstuyu on February 21, 2012 at 5:32 PM

If I had any confidence that it would be declared unconstitutional, I’d say decide it now. But instead of either or, I’d prefer they punt now. It gives us two election cycles to beef up Congress to remove it completely off the table and do something to ensure it won’t resurrect itself. Namely repeal the 16th and replace it with something that requires the consent of all 57 State’s consent on anything to do with taxes not expressly enumerated.

Wouldn’t pass unless you got a corpse-man to write in Austrian.

Nutstuyu on February 21, 2012 at 5:39 PM

Oh, how silly of me–I actually thought we’d get a ruling on ObamaCare sometime soon. Instead, we get a ruling on whether or not they’re allowed to make a ruling on ObamaCare!

Real profiles in courage, those judges.

Mr. Prodigy on February 21, 2012 at 5:50 PM

Oh, how silly of me–I actually thought we’d get a ruling on ObamaCare sometime soon. Instead, we get a ruling on whether or not they’re allowed to make a ruling on ObamaCare!

Real profiles in courage, those judges.

Mr. Prodigy on February 21, 2012 at 5:50 PM

The black robes hide the yellow bellies.

Nutstuyu on February 21, 2012 at 5:56 PM

It is terrible that people are put into positions of responsibility and they don’t have the backbone to make a decision, much less one that deals with upholding the Constitution. It’s no wonder that a great share of the people of this country do not respect the law, when the courts are full of judges and lawyers that show their disrespect for it on a daily basis.

savage24 on February 21, 2012 at 6:02 PM

What disgusts me is the absolute ignorance of the Constitution that is daily demonstrated by Legislators, Judges and our current President.

Yes, Congress has the power to tax…

BUT ONLY to pay for Constitutionally required obligations (military, post roads, administrative buildings, etc).

It is illegal to tax for the purpose of funding un-Constitutional healthcare mandates.

PERIOD.

dominigan on February 21, 2012 at 7:33 PM

You can’t put off extinguishing the fire because it will go out on its own when the house is just ashes.
Adjoran on February 21, 2012 at 3:04 PM

Yep, overreach is overreach. It doesn’t matter who does it first because it will ALWAYS come around to get you in the end.
Lily on February 21, 2012 at 4:10 PM

Well said.
We cannot continue to employ arsonists in the fire station.

AesopFan on February 21, 2012 at 8:18 PM

Maybe SCOTUS is waiting for Obama to be replaced by a GOP President and Ginsburg retires in 2014 and a conservative judge is elected to the bench and SCOTUS has a solid majority vote and shoot this POS down.

That’s a lot of powerful stuff wasted wishful thinking packed in one tiny sentence.

timberline on February 21, 2012 at 3:00 PM

FIFY.

climbnjump on February 21, 2012 at 8:47 PM

So since it was brought up, they have to deal with it. That’s the end of the story…not so to the folks who need conflict and those whom wish this one of several laws, that are unwieldly, to continue.

I enjoyed the cheapshot of Chief Justice Roberts there from the progressive scumbags, as if he considers such things. Idiots, keep suckin that Soros peen.

John Kettlewell on February 21, 2012 at 10:02 PM

oh forgot to mention that there are only 2 types of Tax federally available. State-apportioned and income. This is neither.

I don’t think they can make it fit the other tax-types, it’s possible they were EXPECTING the fine/penalty to be removed eventually. The whole purpose is just to get everyone health coverage, then determine what is best for you, and to bring back eugenics…or just population control…you know, friendly kinds like ‘birth control’.

John Kettlewell on February 21, 2012 at 10:47 PM