Its been a BAD day...... much like my 29th birthday (when the Senate approved HR 3590 - aka Obamacare). Although I had prepared myself for this moment (during many-a-conversations with Darin, Jana and Tiffany discussing my hunch that Roberts would side with the left to uphold Obamacare), I was not prepared for the full emotional turmoil of today. I felt COMPLETE elation when CNN reported the Supreme Court had struck down the individual mandate. CNN was wrong – for a good two minutes. Allowing me to jump and scream and celebrate. Then, when the correct reading of the court’s opinion was relayed, I felt defeated.
There is much to read and interpret from the decision, specifically the distinction of the mandate as a tax. John Roberts is alone in this interpretation – that the mandate does not hold under the Commerce Clause, but is effectively a tax and therefore permissible under Congress’ taxing authority. The conservative justices argue the mandate was not presented as a tax, is not permissible under taxing authority or the Commerce Clause. The liberal justices differ from Roberts in their belief that it is permissible under the Commerce Clause. In any case, Roberts’ interpretation provides a political victory for Obama.
I respect that the Supreme Court ruled on constitutionality. Justice Roberts, however, makes certain to emphasize that the court’s decision does not rule on whether the law is sound policy. I do not believe it is. This ruling will most certainly rally the Republican base, but it is yet to be determined what impact it will have on independents and moderates (key to winning the election). Whether, as CNN contributor David Gergen says, the court’s decision will likely sway independent voters to back away from Obamacare repeal ‘time to give it a rest; let’s get our focus back on the economy’ or whether independents will recognize that the health and sustainability of our economy is inextricably linked to the repeal of Obamacare is yet to be seen.