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Flummoxed

with 4 comments

Okay.

None of you gets to tell me I’m the only  one who heard that Roberts was writing the majority opinion and thought:  oh, God, they struck down the whole damned thing.

I hope I spelled “flummoxed” correctly, because that’s what I am–not over the decision itself, because I never really had any inner sense of the way it would go. 

But that a majority in favor would be made up not by the liberals plus Kennedy but by the liberals plus Roberts–that one I didn’t see coming.

I am where I have been on this issue all along.  I wanted single payer and I didn’t get it.  I hate the individual mandate to  its core–I do NOT want to give my money to insurance companies–and I didn’t l ike the p rovision that would put some seniors into Medicaid instead of Medicare.

I’m unclear about where that last one stands–the court seems to have ruled against at least some of the expansion of Medicaid, but I don’t know which parts, because I haven’t had a chance to read the decision yet–but the rest has definitely been upheld.

My guess is that the New York Times will give out a lot in the way of opinion pieces on how Roberts has “grown” on the court and an op ed columnist or two will award the man the Strange New Respect award.

I just think Roberts is a more complicated man than I thought he was.

I’m going to go off and read the decision now.

Written by janeh

June 28th, 2012 at 11:29 am

Posted in Uncategorized

4 Responses to 'Flummoxed'

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  1. Some analysis here:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/wp/2012/06/28/the-political-genius-of-john-roberts/

    “…by voting with the conservatives on every major legal question before the court, he nevertheless furthered the major conservative projects before the court — namely, imposing limits on federal power. And by securing his own reputation for impartiality, he made his own advocacy in those areas much more effective. If, in the future, Roberts leads the court in cases that more radically constrain the federal government’s power to regulate interstate commerce, today’s decision will help insulate him from criticism. And he did it while rendering a decision that Democrats are applauding.
    “For those of us who oppose the Affordable Care Act as a policy matter, this is a bad day,” Barnett said. “For those of us in this fight to preserve the limits of constitutional government, this is not a bad day.”

    michaelwfisher@cox.net

    28 Jun 12 at 3:40 pm

  2. “The business about “new and potentially vast” authority is a fig leaf. This is a substantial rollback of Congress’ regulatory powers, and the chief justice knows it. It is what Roberts has been pursuing ever since he signed up with the Federalist Society. In 2005, Sen. Barack Obama spoke in opposition to Roberts’ nomination, saying he did not trust his political philosophy on tough questions such as “whether the Commerce Clause empowers Congress to speak on those issues of broad national concern that may be only tangentially related to what is easily defined as interstate commerce.” Today, Roberts did what Obama predicted he would do.
    Roberts’ genius was in pushing this health care decision through without attaching it to the coattails of an ugly, narrow partisan victory. Obama wins on policy, this time. And Roberts rewrites Congress’ power to regulate, opening the door for countless future challenges.”
    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/scocca/2012/06/roberts_health_care_opinion_commerce_clause_the_real_reason_the_chief_justice_upheld_obamacare_.html

    —-and not mentioned in either of my cited pieces is how Roberts framed the Medicare provision, essentially saying that the Federal government can’t use the “power of the purse strings” to pursue Federal power. I.e., if this decision had existed pre-55mph speed limit, we would never have had a 55 mph national speed limit as the way Congress forced the states to enact that hated speed limit was by threatening to cut off federal highway funds — which Roberts says is not permissable.

    michaelwfisher@cox.net

    28 Jun 12 at 7:17 pm

  3. “…if this decision had existed pre-55mph speed limit, we would never have had a 55 mph national speed limit as the way Congress forced the states to enact that hated speed limit was by threatening to cut off federal highway funds — which Roberts says is not permissable (sic).”

    One report I read said that Roberts’ decision on the funding issue was that the Feds use of the funding carrot and stick approach was limited. They could offer “new money” as an incentive, but they could not withhold “old money” as a disincentive. Your highway money analogy might not be strictly apt, Mike, if what Roberts intended was that previously budgetted expenditure could not just be stopped to punish recalcitrant states, but that future funding could be withheld (not approved) unless conditions are met. Makes logical sense to me.

    Mique

    28 Jun 12 at 9:55 pm

  4. Maybe so Mique, I’m not going to band my head against that particular counter-factual since that episode is long in the past. What will be interesting is how it plays out in the future.

    michaelwfisher@cox.net

    29 Jun 12 at 7:14 am

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