Many of us are waiting with bated breath as the Supreme Court meets today behind closed doors to decide the future of the Affordable Care Act – Obamacare. The Obama administration fielded a weak defense of the legislation this week as three days of oral arguments allowed for many of the Justices to pile on Solicitor General Donald Verrilli. The audio and transcripts are available at the Supreme Court website.
The Associated Press weighed in this morning:
After months of anticipation, thousands of pages of briefs and more than six hours of arguments, the justices will vote on the fate of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul in under an hour Friday morning. They will meet in a wood-paneled conference room on the court’s main floor. No one else will be present.
In the weeks after this meeting, individual votes can change. Even who wins can change, as the justices read each other’s draft opinions and dissents.
But Friday’s vote, which each justice probably will record and many will keep for posterity, will be followed soon after by the assignment of a single justice to write a majority opinion, or in a case this complex, perhaps two or more justices to tackle different issues. That’s where the hard work begins, with the clock ticking toward the end of the court’s work in early summer.
If the Court chooses to uphold the legislation, the relationship between government and the individual will change forever. Because quite simply, if the government can compel you to buy health insurance, they can force you to buy anything they want. If Obamacare is allowed to stand, a new precedent will be set – a very un-Constitutional precedent.
There is some degree of concern among conservatives that despite the possibility that the individual mandate could be struck down, the Court could vote to uphold the rest of the legislation. This seems unlikely, given the temperature of the majority of the Justices during oral arguments, but it is still a possibility.
If the mandate falls and the rest of the legislation lives on, there could be an effort made by congressional Democrats to just expand Medicare to cover everyone (effectively replacing the idea of the mandate), but the probability of such a scheme skating by the Republican-controlled House is highly improbable.
One thing is for sure- Too many Americans are concerned with the latest eliminations from American Idol and Dancing With The Stars, while the future of the Republic lies in the hands of nine justices. Are we moving back toward Constitutionalism or is more statism on the horizon?