Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

ACA Upheld – Victory OPEN THREAD

I’d like to open with Sarah Palin’s response:

Obama lied to the American people. Again. He said it wasn’t a tax. Obama lies; freedom dies.

– @SarahPalinUSA via web

My response?  Nothing new under the sun: Obama wins; Palin spins.

The only thing relevant about Palin and her devotees is the repeated demonstrations of their continued irrelevance.


But more to the substance of this, what is clear here is that this whole rigmarole has devolved upon the popular American distaste for the term “tax.”  All federal social policy in the near term will have to work by re-labeling taxes, an absurd semantic sleight of hand made necessary by a widespread impoverishment  of our command of basic civics terminology and its concerted ideological slandering by one special interest group, as the GOP should now be known.

What reveals this understanding of the GOP as a special interest group more than anything else is Chief Justice John Roberts’ decision.  Roberts clearly looked down the arc of history and did not want “his” court to be the one that capitulated to partisanship and undermined the institution’s integrity.  It’s that simple.  He understood that his name would become synonymous with partisan judicial activism.  As a Federalist, this was intolerable.  Hence he opened with a statement affirming that the court’s role is not to seek ways to overturn legislation, but to uphold it.  Only if there is no conceivable way to bring its rationale into accord with constitutional language should the court strike down the laws written by our elected representatives.  We could not get this bill passed by including the language of taxation, hence no single payer or public option.  But those are political conditions.  Roberts quite brilliantly (if wrongly) adhered to his own conservatism with regard to an unnecessarily narrow reading of the commerce clause, but latched onto US Solicitor General Verrilli’s back-up argument that the mandate could be considered a tax triggered by an individual’s lack of health insurance.  But his tacit acknowledgment of what he (I think correctly) believes will be the historical view of the court implicitly reveals the degree to which the GOP is a special interest group, uninterested in the substance of legality or the welfare of the US.  It represents a very narrow constituency’s interests and will do anything to serve them.  It’s nothing more than the political action committee of the Chamber of Commerce.


  1. creamer

    HuffPost Canada reports:

    The U.S. Supreme Court upheld President Barack Obama’s health care plan on Thursday, in a 5-4 decision.

    The President’s health care plan, considered to be a key part of his domestic agenda, has been opposed by Republicans and many right-wing Americans.

    Many Americans who were upset at the Supreme Court decision took to Twitter to voice their anger. Weirdly enough, many Americans tweeted about ‘moving to Canada’ to escape socialized medicine.

    “I’m moving to Canada, the United States is entirely too socialist,” tweets @wallyweldon.

    I think the last sentence explains why we are in the position we are in.

     PAC of CHamber of Commerce is an apt title.  

  2. creamer

    how the GOP responds. After getting all freaky about Obama

    calling out the court last year, they might sound a little disingenuous attacking Roberts. But then again, we are talking about the GOP.

      BTW: HOORAY we win!!!!!

  3. Strummerson

    I get the strong sense from a few anecdotal stories about Roberts over the past few months and the way he has written this opinion that he very, very much was concerned about keeping the Supreme Court above the partisan fray and damaging the reputation of the Court long term. It seems to me the left was smart to make a full frontal assault on the Court as it persuaded Roberts.

    Stopped clock and all that.

    In the mean time, Jeffrey Toobin tweeted that Roberts looked “red-eyed and unhappy” as he read, prompting this lovely outburst of freeper conspiracy cannibalism:

    I didn’t see this posted elsewhere. Does anyone else suspect that Chief Justice Roberts was coerced? Could this be related to his blond, blue-eyed children he and his wife supposedly adopted from Latin America that were “off-limits” during his confirmations?


    Followed by:

    Somebody has pictures of him in bed with a dead woman or a live boy.

  4. Strummerson

    entitled “The Roberts Court is Born.”

    Here’s the “moneyquote” (a term I find abhorrent):

    With this deft ruling, Roberts avoided what was certain to be a cascade of criticism of the high court. No Supreme Court has struck down a president’s signature piece of legislation in over 75 years. Had Obamacare been voided, it would have inevitably led to charges of aggressive judicial activism.  Roberts peered over the abyss and decided he didn’t want to go there.

    Question is, does this establish John Roberts as a man of integrity with regard to separation of powers, a man keenly attuned to judgments of history, or a man fundamentally guided by care of his own reputation?  It it’s either of the first two, then we can proceed with a solid understanding of his disposition.  If it is the last, then having shored up his credentials as a caretaker of the court’s reputation, we might expect him to use this as cover to either function as a quiet conservative activist in the near term or even as a man eager to re-gain the approval of his co-religionists (and I don’t mean Catholic here).

  5. Strummerson

    for the first time in months from ActBlue.  The money will indeed pour in on the other side in a form of financial temper tantrum.  The timing is significant here.  Seems worthwhile to send a few bucks I was already planning to send at some point to counter the optics of popular outrage.  Hope some of the moose join me.

  6. virginislandsguy

    about initial ACA reporting over on GOS Video: CNNs minutes of hell. Wolf Blitzer, Kate Baldwin, John King and Sanjay Gupta all ran with the failure on the Commerce Clause. They started their walkback at the 5:30 mark until full capitulation at 8 minutes.

    Chris Mathews was guffawing about it on Hardball without naming the network.

  7. lojasmo

    What the fuck was Stevens thinking here.  Still have yet to read much from the SCOTUS, but this dissenting opinion should be a headfull.

  8. fogiv

    …Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul’s rant against the high court’s ruling was a surprise of sorts. The physician-turned-elected-official appeared to suggest that the court needs a legal lesson or two.

    “Just because a couple people on the Supreme Court declare something to be ‘constitutional’ does not make it so. The whole thing remains unconstitutional,” Paul said in a statement.

    Actually there were five people dipshit, and that does make it so.

  9. creamer

    Prior to ACA, private insurance would have been unavailible to him.

     On the conspiracy side, if the individual mandate is a tax, it can be voted down in the Senate without threat of a filibuster. Fiscal bills cannot be filibustered.

  10. Obamacare works.

    Fortunately for me, I’ve been saved by the federal government’s Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan, something I had never heard of before needing it. It’s part of President Obama’s healthcare plan, one of the things that has already kicked in, and it guarantees access to insurance for U.S. citizens with preexisting conditions who have been uninsured for at least six months. The application was short, the premiums are affordable, and I have found the people who work in the administration office to be quite compassionate (nothing like the people I have dealt with over the years at other insurance companies.) It’s not perfect, of course, and it still leaves many people in need out in the cold. But it’s a start, and for me it’s been a lifesaver – perhaps literally.

  11. Shaun Appleby

    CNN is reporting that Anderson Cooper is straight.  @TimesPublicEdit

    Wonder what Wolf will say.

  12. Strummerson

    BUT on the ACA:

    While Obama shows no advantage on the issue, his law itself has gotten something of a boost –

    Americans now divide evenly on it, 47-47 percent, support-oppose. It was 39-53 percent in

    April, before the Supreme Court upheld the law’s individual mandate.

  13. Strummerson

    could we see a popular movement in states with Governors who are refusing medicaid expansion and exchanges?  Could dems run on implementing the ACA’s most popular provisions?  If I had friends and relatives who were uninsured, but who would be eligible for medicaid if it were expanded, I could see that one issue swinging my vote.  If I were a small business owner who could save money through insurers competing to cover my employees, wouldn’t that fear of socialism melt away?  Could the ACA end up bearing political fruit at the state level?

Comments are closed.