Affordable Care Act vs the Supreme Court: now we wait

The court’s decision, due in June, will affect the way virtually every American receives and pays for health care and surely will reverberate in this year’s campaigns for president and Congress. The political effects could be even larger if the court votes 5-4 with all its Republican-appointed justices prevailing over all the Democratic appointees to strike down the entire law, or several important parts of it. [IndyStar]

We now live in a world where British newspapers warn that “Britain must beware the dystopic drift towards a US-style judiciary.” [Guardian]

Thus the creation of a new legal theory to sink Obamacare: the idea that while the federal government might well have the authority to regulate economic activity, it doesn’t have the right to regulate inactivity—such as sitting around and refusing to buy health insurance. Now, it is as plain as the spectacles on Antonin Scalia’s nose that opting out of the health-care market is about as realistic as opting out of dying. [New Yorker]

Judicial activists in the Supreme Court: “Three days of Supreme Court arguments over the health-care law demonstrated for all to see that conservative justices are prepared to act as an alternative legislature, diving deeply into policy details as if they were members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.” [E.J. Dionne]

Lawmakers wary after SCOTUS arguments: “Senate healthcare leaders from both parties are reacting cautiously to the direction of arguments at the Supreme Court over the constitutionality of the 2010 federal healthcare law.” [Modern Healthcare]

HELLO! The folly of free market health reform: “The purpose of the Supreme Court hearings on President Obama’s health reform law is to determine whether a key provision, the individual mandate, is constitutional. But the case may end up demonstrating something else: That there is no “free market” solution that will extend coverage to millions of uninsured people and get skyrocketing costs under control.” [U.S. News]

“So, you ask people if they want the health care law and they say, ‘no, it’s unconstitutional, it’s tyranny,’” she explained. “But if you ask people if insurance companies should be able to deny coverage to somebody because they have cancer, they say, ‘of course not.’” Maddow said it was like someone not wanting a pepperoni pizza, but wanting dough with tomato sauce, cheese, and pepperoni on it. “Republicans think they are in this very popular position of railing against Obamacare, but when they get asked about what they mean, about what it is they’re going to get rid of, what they end up explaining is they’d prefer the ‘let him die’ plan,” she said in reference to a Republican audience cheering letting the uninsured die. [Maddow]

None of the justices appears delighted at the prospect of striking down the law in its entirety, with Breyer waving around the portions of the statute that arguably don’t have anything to do with the individual mandate, and Paul Clement offering a kind of hip-bone-connected-to-the-thigh-bone assessment of how the many parts of the law are too interconnected to be separated. But the justices seem no more delighted at the prospect of hacking out only the two major parts of the law, as the Obama administration suggests. Nor do there seem to be many takers for the prospect of letting the whole thing stand, save the mandate. There are even murmurs that any remedy might be so embarrassing that the law could survive after all. [Slate]

The Broccoli Mandate: I just discovered what it is, and it distresses me to no end that our wingnuts are actively trying to make us dumber. Of course no one is going to be mandated to buy broccoli, you wankers. But you know what I am mandated to buy because of the actions of a bunch of midwestern conservative pols? Corn. There is a live, actual corn mandate. Every time I go to the gas station to buy gas, I am forced, against my will, to buy corn products. So you know where you jackasses can stick that broccoli…[John Cole]

It is plain now that Scalia simply doesn’t like the Affordable Care Act on its face. It has nothing to do with “originalism,” or the Commerce Clause, or anything else. He doesn’t think that the people who would benefit from the law deserve to have a law that benefits them. On Tuesday, he pursued the absurd “broccoli” analogy to the point where he sounded like a micro-rated evening-drive talk-show host from a dust-clotted station in southern Oklahoma. And today, apparently, he ran through every twist and turn in the act’s baroque political historyin an attempt to discredit the law politically, rather than as a challenge to its constitutionality. (What in hell does the “Cornhusker Kickback” — yet another term of art that the Justice borrowed from the AM radio dial — have to do with the severability argument? Is Scalia seriously making the case that a banal political compromise within the negotiations from which bill eventually is produced can affect its ultimate constitutionality? Good luck ever getting anything passed if that’s the standard.) [Charles P Pierce]

It was the third day of ObamaCare arguments. Hating broccoli — and wanting the choice not to eat it — probably means he’s a conservative. [Buzzfeed]

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