Via the Examiner, I’ve been looking for tea leaves for you all day but this, unfortunately, is the best I can do. I don’t even regard it as tea leaves: I think Tribe is just pre-spinning the outcome so that, if the mandate is struck down, he can call Roberts a disappointment who betrayed his education in a fit of ideological pique, etc etc etc. But we’re starving for insight and this is, in its own lame way, an insight into Roberts’s thinking. As is this:
Eastman, a critic of the health care law, said he wouldn’t be surprised to see Roberts side with the Obama administration and uphold the law. “He’s a creature of the Washington administrative state. That’s his background,” the professor said, noting that Roberts has spent almost his entire professional life in Washington.
Scalia’s background is Beltway-heavy too yet his vote against ObamaCare seems a fait accompli.
More unconvincing tea leaves? Okay, how about the idea that Roberts’s vote in the Arizona case with Kennedy and the liberals presages a similar outcome on ObamaCare?
What the Arizona compromise will augur for the most closely watched case of the term is anyone’s guess. Yet the justices’ evident search for common ground in the immigration ruling and a few other cases this term could portend a healthcare decision that does not predictably cleave along political lines…
Overall, the judgment was modest, the tone cautious. It underscored the federal role in regulating immigration and largely rejected the effort by Arizona – and, by extension, several other states – to institute sweeping measures to stop people from illegally crossing the border.
The justices’ regard for national authority on dilemmas that cut across state boundaries could end up echoing in the healthcare ruling.
“Both problems transcend states’ borders and are too big for the states to solve on their own,” Duke University law professor Neil Siegel said, stressing that he did not want to predict how the court would rule on Thursday.
Jeffrey Rosen is pushing this line too over at TNR but you could just as easily argue that Roberts and Kennedy threw the left a bone in the Arizona ruling because they’re ready to tear their hearts out with O-Care. A party-line conservative majority on immigration on top of a party-line conservative majority on ObamaCare would have handed liberals a double-barreled weapon in arguing that the Roberts Court is hopelessly politicized. They’ll still argue that if they lose on O-Care, of course, but their point will be weakened because of the Arizona case.
Exit tea leaf: Even at this late date, Obama’s still warning his fundraising audiences about ObamaCare being struck down. How come?