The High Court’s Week in the Spotlight. With scholars, experts, pundits and journalists waiting with bated breath, the Supreme Court issued its ruling on the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) yesterday. According to the majority opinion, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, individual mandate was upheld, but “must be construed as imposing a tax on those who do not have health insurance,” not as “a valid exercise of Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause.” It is important to note that in making the case for the bill, President Obama repeatedly said that the mandate was not a tax. Eric Patashnik, Associate dean of the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, explained:
Chief Justice Roberts found a middle path, granting the main conservative argument against the law (the federal government's regulatory powers are not unlimited) but also allowing implementation of the law to go forward.
But, as Patashnik and Jeffery Jenkins wrote earlier this year, “The main impact of the Court’s decision will be to shape the political ground on which the health reform struggle will continue.”
Responding to the ruling, Mitt Romney said:
This is now a time for the American People to make a choice. You can choose whether to have a larger and larger government making intrusions into your life... Or whether instead you want to return to a time where Americans have their own choice in health care.
He added, “What the Supreme Court did not do on its last day in session, I will do in my first day in office. I will act to repeal Obamacare.”
President Obama also delivered a response to the ruling and said:
I knew the idea wasn't politically popular and resisted it when I ran for this office. … It should be pretty clear by now that I didn't do this because it was good politics. I did it because I believed it was good for the country. ... Now's the time to focus on the most important challenge of our time: putting people back to work.
Romney’s campaign said this morning that it raised $4.2 million online following the Supreme Court's decision. The Obama campaign also seized upon the ruling to raise funds, but the campaign would not reveal how much.
Both CNN and Fox News falsely reported the outcome of the SCOTUS Healthcare ruling on the first take.
Among other rulings, the Supreme Court also handed down its decision in Arizona vs. United States, the 2010 Arizona immigration law (S.B. 1070). With a 5-3 vote, the Court upheld the most hotly contested provision of the law – the so-called “show me your papers” provision – but blocked other provisions on the grounds that they preempted the federal government’s role in setting immigration policy. In a separate ruling issued on Monday, the Court solidified its Citizens United ruling by striking down a Progressive Era ban on corporate giving in the state of Montana. In its 5-4 decision, the Court said there is “no serious doubt” that the Citizens United ruling applies to the state, disappointing those who viewed the Montana case as a means to challenge the controversial ruling on corporate campaign spending.