God is still in control, and this battle is not over yet. Not even close. This places the fate of this atrocious health care law back into the hands of “We The People.” November was important and now it is even more so. While every one is focused on the Presidential race I believe Congressional and Senate races are even more important. The Court basically said to Congress, “you made this mess and now you have to clean it up.”
Now to look at the long game…
This is no longer a legal matter, but a political one.
Congressman Steve King this afternoon alluded to this in a conference call this afternoon. He believes that Iowa’s First and Second Congressional District races are now in play. Conventional wisdom holds that those districts where Democrats lead Republicans in voter registrations would be difficult, if not impossible, to win. The key is the independent vote. The independent vote is key. On Sunday a Reuters/Ipsos poll came out showing 73% of independent voters oppose Obamacare… in other words less than quarter of those voters support it. Congressman King pointed out that Congressman Bruce Braley who represents Iowa’s First Congressional District gave the closing arguments in favor of the health care law. Now that health care reform will be a top issue in these House races that helps Ben Lange, not Braley. It also helps out John Archer in Iowa’s Second Congressional District. It puts Congressman Leonard Boswell (D-IA) in Iowa’s Third Congressional District in hot water since he voted for it, and his challenger Congressman Tom Latham (R-IA) didn’t. I believe it makes Congressman King’s reelection pretty much certain in the Iowa Fourth Congressional District race with Christie Vilsack.
It just doesn’t help. To be able to repeal Obamacare people who voted for it need to be replaced. The House GOP majority needs to be strengthened and the Senate not only needs to flip, but I believe it needs to be done preferably with a supermajority. I say this because the White House is no guarantee it would be great to have a veto-proof Congress.
I’m not as optimistic about the presidential race. If Republicans had another candidate other than Mitt Romney it would be a different story. Already the Obama campaign is working to box Romney in on the healthcare ruling. Not only did Mitt Romney help create the individual mandate in Massachusetts with RomneyCare, but he also supported a federal individual mandate back in 2009.
It’s hard to campaign against Obamacare with a record like that. Yes he says he’s for repeal and against the Supreme Court ruling now. The one thing we can count on is Romney’s pragmatism. I doubt if Congress passed a repeal that he would veto it. Please don’t read that as an endorsement, I don’t trust Romney on this issue. I trust Obama even less. If Obama is in office a veto would be guaranteed. However, Romney’s record makes it difficult (if not impossible) for people to believe what he says on the issue.
Ultimately I believe that this ruling helps those Congressional and Senate candidates campaigning for a repeal of Obamacare than it does Mitt Romney.
The scope of the Commerce Clause has now been limited by the Court.
I pointed that out this morning as did Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli in a press conference this morning. Cuccinelli said the Court had put an “outer limit” on the Commerce Clause. This is the first time since the New Deal that Supreme Court in their ruling on Medicaid have ever placed a limit on the power of Congress to compel state to act through its spending authority. Congressman King also conceded that if we had “lost the definition of the Commerce Clause it would have swallowed up the enumerated powers and the 9th and 10th Amendments.” Cuccinelli points out that federalism was ultimately preserved, “if there had been five votes to compel us into commerce, federalism would have been dead.”
The individual mandate is now linked to a tax, as will future mandates.
Yes there was an expansion of Congress’ authority to tax or as Congressman King put it “coerce us through taxation.” The flip side of this Cuccinelli notes is that it removes political cover for Democrats who voted for Obamacare:
By calling it a tax, he said, the Court (specifically the Chief Justice) removes the political cover for those legislators who claimed not to have voted for a tax increase. They can no longer go back to their home districts and say they did not vote for a tax, he said, and thus they will be subject to the judgment of voters on Election Day.
It actually links future mandates such as this to taxation, passing mandates like that that have to identified as a tax will be politically dangerous for those who vote in favor of them.
…while Roberts has expanded the taxation power, which I don’t really think is a massive expansion from what it was, Roberts has curtailed the commerce clause as an avenue for Congressional overreach. In so doing, he has affirmed the Democrats are massive taxers. In fact, I would argue that this may prevent future mandates in that no one is going to go around campaigning on new massive tax increases. On the upside, I guess we can tax the hell out of abortion now. Likewise, in a 7 to 2 decision, the Court shows a strong majority still recognize the concept of federalism and the restrains of Congress in forcing states to adhere to the whims of the federal government.
While the fallout remains to be seen. A blogger friend, Emily Zanotti the editor of NakedDC.com, in an email to other bloggers mentioned that her constitutional law professor, who happens to be very conservative, said that Chief John Roberts is “an evil genius.” Looking down the road he may very well be right.