Thursday, June 28, 2012

Today Is The Day

Sometime around ten a.m. Eastern Time we’ll know what the Supreme Court has to say about the Affordable Care Act and its future.

I’m not a lawyer, nor am I a Court groupie. I rely on others who are and who read the tea leaves and the little clues that come from this great stone edifice and try to discern how they’ll rule. In this particular case, based on what I’ve been reading in various places and through blogs and writers I respect, I have come to the conclusion that I have no idea how the Court will rule other than just a gut feeling. That feeling is that the Court will overturn the individual mandate but let stand the rest of the law and leave it to Congress and the politicians to figure out how to implement the law with a central element of it torn out. Hey, they don’t make the law; they just interpret it, right?

Or they could leave it standing as is. I’ve read a number of articles by liberals and conservatives that support the law surviving without a scratch, although given the political bend that some members of this Court have displayed, I doubt that will happen simply because the conservatives will not pass up an opportunity to knock down a major part of a law passed by a black Democratic president, even if precedent for a wide interpretation of the commerce clause has been used by conservatives to keep federal laws, such as the drug laws, standing. (Tom Goldstein at SCOTUSblog thinks it will survive, basing it on no more inside information than anyone else. Here’s hoping.)

Or the Court could invalidate the whole law because of severability; the idea that parts of the law could be left standing while others were taken out. Apparently Congress either forgot to put that in the original bill or the Democrats left it out because they didn’t think that the law would ever be challenged to the point that the whole thing would be in jeopardy. Somehow I don’t think that will happen.

So there you are; I’ve covered all the bases so that pretty much no matter what happens, I’ll have called it. That puts me in the league with most of the rest of the scholars, groupies, and the Chicago Tribune.