Obamacare: Unconstitutional?

The U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) has a somewhat checkered history.  On the one hand, there are decisions like Marbury v. Madison.  That case helped define the boundary between the constitutionally separate executive and judicial branches of our Federal government.  On the other hand, there are decisions which were much less commendable.  Dred Scott, anyone?

According to Talking Points Memo, reporters who cover the court are, are, as TPM put it, apoplectic.  Why?  SCOTUS agreed to hear a case that, if won by the plaintiffs, would effectively gut the Affordable Care Act.

The intent of the lawsuit, King v. Burwell, is to cut subsidies intended to help millions of Americans pay for health insurance.  In a nutshell, King v. Burwell relies on the U.S. Constitution’s Interstate Commerce clause to argue that only state governments have the right to operate health insurance exchanges.  If it is successful, this case would strip away healthcare coverage from those who gained it through an exchange run by the federal government.

The Court’s scheduling a case with such potentially calamitous ramifications has been called a naked power grab by conservative justices, who in turn have been labeled a collection of politicians in robes.  One only need think back to the year 2000 to find a similarly striking example of loss of confidence in our highest court.  Then, both the Washington Post and ABC News reported that after the court decided that tyear’s Presidential election, SCOTUS lost the support of 63% of Americans.

For the sake of the millions of Americans who’ve signed up for Obamacare through a Federal exchange, let’s hope the five conservative justices are more than just politicos in robes.


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