Yes, the liberals won

I would find this perspective considerably more persuasive if I could envision how, exactly, this war of “slow constriction” is supposed to play out. Does anyone really believe that a Roberts-led Court is likely to revisit the constitutionality of the major post-New Deal social programs? That it’s going to overturn child labor laws and minimum wage laws, or shutter regulatory agencies? Whatever precedent was set yesterday, that kind of genuine counter-revolution seems highly unlikely…

Now it’s possible, as Sean Trende argues, that Roberts’ deference to the Congress and the White House in this case buys him cover to lead the Court rightward on issues unrelated to the health care debate. But that cover will be political rather than jurisprudential. If the Court outlaws racial preferences or revisits disparate impact, it probably won’t be because of the limits this decision placed on the federal government’s Commerce Clause powers, and the Affordable Care Act precedent is equally unlikely to be invoked in, say, a case that chips away at Roe v. Wade. If Roberts set conservatism up for future high court victories yesterday, in other words, it was because he proved himself a deft politician and a careful custodian of his own credibility, not because the details of his decision fundamentally shifted constitutional interpretation to the right.

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