By David G. Savage
The Supreme Court’s conservative justices said last Wednesday they are prepared to strike down President Obama’s healthcare law entirely.
Picking up where they left off Tuesday, the conservatives said they thought a decision striking down the law’s controversial individual mandate to purchase health insurance means the whole statute should fall with it.
The court’s conservatives sounded as though they had determined for themselves that the 2,700-page measure must be declared unconstitutional.
“One way or another, Congress will have to revisit it in toto,” said Justice Antonin Scalia.
Agreeing, Justice Anthony Kennedy said it would be an “extreme proposition” to allow the various insurance regulations to stand after the mandate was struck down.
Meanwhile, the court’s liberal justices argued for restraint. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the court should do a “salvage job,” not undertake a “wrecking operation.” But she looked to be out-voted.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. said they shared the view of Scalia and Kennedy that the law should stand or fall in total. Along with Justice Clarence Thomas, they would have a majority to strike down the entire statute as unconstitutional.
An Obama administration lawyer, urging caution, said it would be “extraordinary” for the court to throw out the entire law. About 2.5 million young people under age 26 are on their parents’ insurance now because of the new law. If it were struck down entirely, “2.5 million of them would be thrown off the insurance rolls,” said Edwin Kneedler.
The administration indicated it was prepared to accept a ruling that some of the insurance reforms should fall if the mandate were struck down. For example, insurers would not be required to sell coverage to people with preexisting conditions. But Kneedler, a deputy solicitor general, said the court should go no further.
But the court’s conservatives said the law was passed as a package and must fall as a package.
So the Supreme Court seems poised to do the right and constitutional thing. It’s funny how all the Internet outlets, newspapers, TV, et al, classifiy the justices as Conservative or liberal.
The Supreme Court has one job. It’s only job is to determine the constitutionality of the case before it. It is not supposed to write law or somehow fiddle around with the laws that are being decided by the court. Yet Justice Ruth (buzzi) Bader Ginsburg suggests that the court should perform a “salvage job” on the law. The only way that one could perform a “salvage job” on the law would be to rewrite it at the bench.
Somehow this minor inconvenience escapes justice Ginsburg. She must’ve forgotten that the justices are forbidden from writing or creating law from the bench. Either that, or she just doesn’t care. I vote for the latter. But Ginsburg is of course a liberal justice.
As I’ve stated many times in the past, liberals are liberals, first and foremost. What ever their vocation may be, a liberal will always think and act as one without regard to said vocation.
As for Mr. Kneedler’s plea regarding the 2.5 million young people that will may be kicked off their parents insurance if the court strikes down Obamacare, may I remind him, or maybe he doesn’t know, that the Constitution is not a conditional document.
Let’s hope that at least five of the justices will make the right constitutional decision and strike this travesty down in toto.