“This was a train wreck for the Obama administration. This law looks like it’s going to be struck down. I’m telling you, all of the predictions including mine that the justices would not have a problem with this law were wrong.” – Jeffrey Toobin, CNN legal analyst
The individual mandate was the focus today and by all accounts it didn’t go well for Pres. Obama and the administration.
I’ve said from the start that the individual mandate was a horrendous component and the toughest aspect. It’s why those experts who suggested opening Medicare “for all,” starting at those around 55 years of age, was the best avenue from the start.
If the individual mandate is struck down by the Supreme Court, Pres. Obama will be blamed for not listening to movement progressives on the public option, but also making a blunder founded on timidity instead of fighting for what public opinion proved the American public supported, the public option.
Politically, if the mandate is struck, and we still do not know if it will be, Mitt Romney and his team are likely salivating over the possibility of being able to say that no part of his state health care insurance was found unconstitutional.
Today has to be troubling for the Obama administration and Democrats, though we won’t know anything for sure until late June.
As I wrote yesterday, Justice Roberts should have allowed the hearings televised or at the very least made some contingency for the new media culture in which we live. We’re seeing the beginning of the end of Supreme Court secrecy. In fact, it’s already been broken.
The Alliance Defense Fund, which identifies itself as a group that defends “religious freedom, the sanctity of life, marriage and the family,” started Tuesday morning posting live updates on Twitter of what the justices and lawyers were saying.
“Justice Scalia: What is left? If Congress can do this … what can’t it? #ObamaCare #SCOTUS,” the group said on Twitter.
Four minutes later, the group posted again: “J. Roberts says not every person to whom mandate is applied will need pediatric care, sub. abuse. Etc but all must pay. #ObamaCare #SCOTUS.”
The story on how the tweets got out, but also how the Wall Street Journal is breaking live updates in their “live blogging” is predictable.
Conservatives are trumpeting FNC’s headline, “Obama lawyer laughed at in Supreme Court.” Fox News Channel, as well as Rush Limbaugh, blasted it out with glee. It turns on the word “tax” versus “tax penalty.” So, nothing to see there, moving along.
However, it’s clear that the Obama administration’s case for the individual mandate is being greeted very skeptically, which doesn’t surprise me in the least.
“The only conservative justice who looked like he might uphold the law was Chief Justice Roberts who asked hard questions of both sides, all four liberal justices tried as hard as they could to make the arguments in favor of the law, but they were — they did not meet with their success with their colleagues,” Toobin said.
As for those four liberal justices, if Chief Justice Roberts joins them, it’s all it takes.
Nothing is certain and no one should take oral arguments and the reporting from them as predictive, though all of it combined is obviously foreshadowing.