In 1935, the Supreme Court struck down many of FDR's programs on the basis of what is known as "substantive due process."
You don't hear that term used nearly as much as you did then, because of what happened next, which has a lesson for everyone drooling with fear and loathing or anticipation over today's SCOTUS(Supreme Court, U.S.) hearing on "Obamacare's" constituionality.
That is because after the Supreme Court vaporized much of what FDR had been doin in 1935, it actually provided a nice foil for the President, although he eventually overdid that too.
In 1936,a fter having lost in SCOTUS in 1933, it was ver easy for FDR to campaign on the theme of a Republican Court, and wealthy elites, who were harming his efforts to help ordinary Americans cope with the Great Depression.
Thus, careful what Republicans ask for ought to be one their watchwords, for if they have excited their political base by bashing Obamacare, that's a two way street per President Obama's political base, especially because of its correlation relative to the Supreme Court with the President's base on Roe v Wade.
Social issues as well are not a one way street.
Thus, if even if SCOTUS makes some unfavorable declaration on Obamacare's constitutionality, more than likely the question of the use of the Commerce Clause (which personally I think is a horse that left the barn by criminalizing posession of a marijuana plant in your house for sole personal use, but the Drug Warriors have got our minds on that one, even though one could observe that cocaine is processed and so therefore a different kettle of fish), it remains the case that the President has hardly lost everything politically at least, should the Court hold adversely.
As a practical matter, if the Courts strike down Obamacare, revising the law to make it fit the ruling isn't likely to be very difficult as to tax liability, for example.
As to revision and Obamacare II, all you have to do is say that some portion of your federal tax liability and/or benefit status is contingent on your healthcare policy status meeting certain criterion, and getting credits for that, and that would sail through any court ruling today, as the tax code is regarded by Courts as mainly an administrative matter.
Of course the tax code wasn't made more central to Obamacare in the first place to avoid the impression that it was going to cost higher taxes, which to be fair to President Obama might be correct in a net long run sense, although that is almost impossible to explain in the 5 seconds one gets to say anything in the media right now.
Where was Ross Perot in all this, with such wonderful Powerpoints, and why do we as a species always so mock those who take the time to get things right?
On the raw political side of this, if the Court were to rule on "partisan" lines, that plays into the President's hands wonderfully, as then he can run to the electorate saying "Look at the Do Nothing Congress and the Do Nothing Courts, the latter of whom if I lose, will surely reverse Roe v Wade."
That's not all a bad position for the President to have staked out, although there is a warning from history as to FDR too.
FDR won a crushing victory in 1936 on the same types of themes, mainly the Court and the "One Per Cent," plus ca change, c'etet la meme chose, the more things change..., and then decided to punish the Court by enlarging it, since he claimed they were too old to do all the work that they had.
At first, the members of the Court didn't get the point, and actually went to FDR's people and showed them how vigorous they were, doing everything but pushups in the Oval Office.
Then they got the point, and in the "Switch in Time that Saved Nine" in 1937, reversed themselves, subtly of course, but lawyers excel at such things, and "constitutionalized" something similar that had gone on before, if the public backlash against FDR for that "Court Packing Stunt" was large too in the 1938 midterms.
Thus, however it plays out on the Court, it is likely to be the case that the Supreme Court won't have the last say as to President Obama's legacy, as that's always ultimately decided by the political system.
The President's understanding of that system, which since the President is the President, we can safely assume is as good as anyone on Earth.