"For those of us who oppose the Affordable Care Act as a policy matter, this is a bad day," Barnett said. "For those of us in this fight to preserve the limits of constitutional government, this is not a bad day."
I’m a little less enthusiastic than I was yesterday, having read the key parts of Roberts’ decision and seen for myself the indefensible “It’s a tax except when it’s not a tax” argument he used. I still believe Roberts crafted this out of fear, not principle. (Fear of backlash from the DC establishment, fear of damaging the court’s “reputation” with the elites, fear of being shunned at Georgetown cocktail parties, etc)
But I believe that more and more it’s coming clear that this was a (small) victory for the premise of the Tea Party movement: Government is supposed to be limited and the words in the Constitution should matter. Put it another way, liberals who want a “living, breathing Constitution” just saw John Roberts holding a pillow over its face.
It’s not a great ruling from a legal aspect. Click here for an excellent take from the Wall Street Journal.
By persuading the Court to reject a Commerce Clause rationale for a president’s signature act, the conservative legal insurgency against Obamacare has won a huge victory for the long haul. This victory will help revive a venerable tradition of America’s political culture, that of viewing congressional actions with a skeptical constitutional squint, searching for congruence with the Constitution’s architecture of enumerated powers. By rejecting the Commerce Clause rationale, Thursday’s decision reaffirmed the Constitution’s foundational premise: Enumerated powers are necessarily limited because, as Chief Justice John Marshall said, “the enumeration presupposes something not enumerated.”
As for the political impact between now and November—it’s a winner for Mitt Romney:
Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul, shortly after 9 p.m. Eastern: "Thank you to everyone who donated at mittromney.com today! Raised $3.2 million online & counting! #FullRepeal."
Around the same time, the Washington Post‘s Chris Cillizza posted: "For those wondering how much Obama has raised since SCOTUS decision . . . I asked, they aren’t saying."