It was a similar crew of conservative justices on the Supreme Court that decided that their long-held beliefs on states' rights were irrelevant and made George W. Bush our next president in 2000. Now, they're back!!! And they might decide yet another presidential election.
Imagine the damage it does to President Obama to strip him of his signature accomplishment right before the election. It would also allow the Republicans to say -- "See, we told you so! It was unconstitutional all along. It was a wild, socialist over-reach of big government." It creates a permanent stain on the law -- as if there was something horribly wrong with it all along. And it takes it off the books at a moment when it is still relatively unpopular. So, before any of the popular provisions are put into effect it would go in the record books as a complete disaster.
Why don't you just hand the Republicans the election? Which is, of course, exactly what the conservatives of this court would love to do. These conservative justices are given far too much deference in the media. They are largely partisan hacks.
Antonin Scalia is a complete fraud. He will bend any so-called principle to get to the political result he wants. If it's upholding anti-gay legislation or striking down federal laws he doesn't like, he is a huge advocate for states' rights. But if it's marijuana legalization or euthanasia or Bush v. Gore, then he hates states' rights. So, which one is it? Here's how you can tell -- which side is the Republican Party on?
Remember, this is a guy who goes duck hunting with Dick Cheney and attends political fundraisers with the Koch brothers. Of course, he doesn't recuse himself from any cases that involve those people. In fact, he votes on their side nearly 100% of the time.
We've been hearing for at least thirty years about the dangers of activist judges. That it is so wrong for unelected officials, like judges, to invalidate laws made by the people's representatives. Now, all of a sudden, the Republicans love that idea! They want to interpret the Commerce Clause in a way that it has not been interpreted since 1937. They want to invalidate a sitting president's signature piece of legislation for the first time in 75 years. And their hack, partisan justices on the Supreme Court can't wait to do their bidding.
The way Scalia, Alito and Thomas are going to vote is certain. There isn't a single Republican position those guys haven't wanted to fondle. They will enthusiastically wrap their legs around the idea that the mandate is unconstitutional. And they will double down by saying it strikes down the rest of the law with it.
John Roberts plays a moderate on TV, so there is some questions about which way he'll go. But in the real world, he always votes with the conservatives because... he is deeply conservative (or more accurately, party line Republican, no matter where the so-called conservative position lies).
So, that leaves us with Justice Kennedy, who is a genuine swing vote. But remember he is the one that swung toward Bush and meddled with how Florida counts its votes despite decades of empty talk about states' rights. If he sides with the rest of the conservative justices, he will forever cement his place on the Hack Hall of Fame as one of the most deeply partisan justices we have ever had. If he helped to decide two presidential elections based on which party he likes rather than his so-called deeply held beliefs, like his oft-repeated deference to precedent, than it would be hard to find a more political and disingenuous justice.
One last thought, which is on the sad incompetence of the Democratic Party. They should be screaming "activist judges" from the rooftops. Instead they are meekly mumbling about how it's unclear which way the court is going to go and how we shouldn't pre-judge. I got news for you -- the Republicans have been pre-judging your bill for years now. You should consider fighting back.
But the primary responsibility is the president's. Why did you agree to the Republican idea of mandates in the first place?
Orrin Hatch (R-UT) was the original sponsor of the mandate in the Senate back in 1993. The Heritage Foundation championed the idea. Mitt Romney was applauded wildly by conservatives when he passed a mandate in Massachusetts. Did the president think they would like him more if he agreed to their idea? No, they have always opposed you at every turn, and they always will. They turned on their own idea the minute you agreed to it -- and now they're using it to kill your whole bill.
When is the president ever going to learn that agreeing with Republicans never helps him? It never helps the country. All it does is make it easier for them to beat you because you made the fatal mistake of agreeing with them.