The Supreme Court is listening to challenges on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act in what has become an unending challenge to every aspect of the Obama Administration from the far Right. We’ve seen this before.
It began with a challenge to his candidacy – is Obama even a citizen? His name doesn’t *sound* like a president’s name. They’re usually normal: like Millard or Rutherford or Grover. Our last president was a Harvard-educated, wealthy, straight, white man. Obama is a Harvard-educated, wealthy, straight, black man. Note the difference?
It didn’t end there. Everything from auto bailouts (started by Bush) to recess appointments (first used by George Washington, and expressly authorized in Article II, Section 2) have been deemed “unconstitutional” because they were performed by President Obama.
And now healthcare reform?
You can type “Obama unconstitutional acts” into Google, and the Affordable Care Act isn’t even in the first page of results. Al-Awlaki has higher billing.
Every time the GOP realizes they can’t beat a Democrat in the voting booth, they try to do it in the courts. And in the Supreme Court they have a conservative advantage.
The scary thing is that they finally might get away with it. And that has dangerous implications for this country.
To clarify, the healthcare mandate is clearly constitutional. Don’t take my word for it. Over a dozen federal courts have upheld the law in full, including two very conservative justices at the DC Federal Court of Appeals.
Former clerks – who worked for the sitting Supreme Court justices – have indicated their assuredness that the law will be upheld, as have conservatives and liberals across the spectrum who study constitutional law.
The same thing President Obama studied. And taught.
More recently, Reagan’s solicitor General, Charles Fried, has defended the individual mandate on its constitutionality. Reagan, people. To Republicans that’s like working for Jesus, but it probably paid better.
This law would be barely controversial under normal circumstances. Except that President Obama enacted it, and despite a landslide GOP victory in the House in 2010, no one has been able to undo it. And since his competitor in November is the guy who first implemented Obamacare (well, Romneycare), this is the only option conservatives have.
If the court takes the bait, and ignores the clear constitutionality of the law to favor each individual’s own political prejudices, it will cement a dangerous precedent.
From Bush vs. Gore to Citizens United, the court has split on party lines in ways that have had severe implications for every branch of government. It’s a power that goes beyond judicial review. It has, quite literally, put a man in the White House.
Voters have every right to support candidates who pledge to undo Obamacare if they are opposed to the law. We are free to support candidates who promise to continue these scurrilous, baseless lawsuits about constitutionality. The Supreme Court, however, has an obligation to rise above politics.
In November, our voices on the political direction of this country can be made loud and clear.
In June, when a verdict is reached, politics should be put aside.