Politically speaking there couldn’t have been a better Supreme Court decision. If Obamacare had been declared unconstitutional, the Democrats’ campaign in November would have been those horrible Republicans have politicized the Supreme Court and denied affordable healthcare to everyone. The focus would be on the court’s “unfairness.” The Democrats would have a plausible if unfair case (and in politics lack of fairness is a given). Advantage Democrats. Advantage because the last things they want to talk about are Obamacare and taxes. And that’s the second big plus from this decision. The focus – thanks to Justice Roberts – is going to be on the biggest tax increase in human history on everyone, not just the rich. And on the lies of Obama which dwarf those of Clinton. Obama promised no tax hikes on the middle class and then defended Obamacare before the Supreme Court as …. a tax.And see George Will, at the O.C. Register, "Obamacare Ruling a Substantial Conservative Win":
As for the constitutionalists. Roberts’ argument makes sense to me. Yes the power to tax is the power to destroy, but it’s in the Constitution. So this decision doesn’t really change anything constitutionally. If you don’t like Obamacare, the remedy is to repeal it. Let the elections begin.
The court held that the mandate is constitutional only because Congress could have identified its enforcement penalty as a tax. The court thereby guaranteed that the argument ignited by the mandate will continue as the principal fault line in our polity.I would have preferred personally that Roberts had stood up to the left's bullying and ideological thuggery --- that he would have joined with the four conservatives to strike down the law, as per Anthony Kennedy's words: "In our view, the entire Act is invalid in its entirety." But I'm not going to lament how quickly the decision has energized the conservative base. See Roll Call for more: "Health Care Decision Re-Energizes Tea Party."
The mandate's opponents favor a federal government as James Madison fashioned it, one limited by the constitutional enumeration of its powers. The mandate's supporters favor government as Woodrow Wilson construed it, with limits as elastic as liberalism's agenda, and powers acquiring derivative constitutionality by being necessary to, or efficient for, implementing government's ambitions.
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."