ObamaCare Ruling: Good Day or Bad Day for America?

roberts obama swear

I tend to agree with Georgetown Professor Randy Barnett:

"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.

But it well be a smart decision for conservatism in the long term.  George Will makes that argument here.

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."

(H/T Jim Geraghty at The Campaign Spot)

Michael Graham
Radio talk show host, columnist for the Boston Herald, stand-up comic and former GOP political consultant. Learn more about Michael here.

Natural Truth of the Day

"I am (or try to be) a partisan of pluralism, which requires respecting Mozilla’s right to have a C.E.O. whose politics fit the climate of Silicon Valley, and Brandeis’s right to rescind degrees as it sees fit... But this respect is difficult to maintain when these institutions will not admit that this is what is going on. Instead, we have the pretense of universality — the insistence that the post-Eich Mozilla is open to all ideas, the invocations of the “spirit of free expression” from a school that’s kicking a controversial speaker off the stage."-- Russ Douthat, NYTimes