Quote of the day, part deux


Roberts peered into the abyss of a world in which he and his colleagues are little more than Senators with lifetime appointments, and he recoiled. The long-term war over the shape of the state goes on, but the crisis of legitimacy has been averted

Now, I was clearly wrong on Kennedy (to his shame and Roberts’ credit), but this morning I did say:

I honestly don’t think either Kennedy or Roberts wants to go that far in either A) politicizing the Supreme Court; or B) blatantly over-turning generations of precedent.  I hope I’m not wrong.

I wonder if Roberts would’ve signed on with his conservative brethren if they had not taken such drastic and radical action as to declar the entire law Unconstitutional.

Infographic of the day

Where the immigrants are coming from (and click through to see what jobs they work) via Planet Money:

U.S. Labor Force By Country of Birth

Quote of the day


I heard a peal of delight and turned around — that’s the picture at the top of this post. Hilary Matfess, a young policy analyst, was jumping up and down, yelling out details.

“The mandate is constitutional! It was upheld! Roberts went for the swing vote! Yes! Oh my God! The individual mandate survives as a tax!”

Did you work on passing the bill? I asked.

“No!” said Matfess. “I just have lupus!”


Wow– did they screw up.  Really like this post over at the Post:

The Supreme Court has struck down the individual mandate for health care.

Someone needs to tell CNN: There is no such thing as fashioning a scoop over something that’s released to the public. [emphasis mine]  Here I cite New York University professor Jay Rosen, who repeatedly chants about how cheap it is when news outlets brand as “exclusives” bits of information that everyone will know in a short time anyhow. This afternoon, one day from now, one week from now: No one will notice, care or otherwise take heed that your outlet was the first to report on a Supreme Court decision. There’s not an outlet that’ll own that news. But much heed will be taken of a quick and mistaken interpretation of such a decision.


Photo of the day

Amazing and amazingly distressing and heart-rending set of photos of the Colorado wildfires via the Denver Post:

Waldo Fire

 An entire neighborhood burns near the foothills of Colorado Springs. The Waldo Canyon fire continues to burn northwest of Manitou Springs, Colorado today June 26th,2012. Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post

It’s a tax– hooray!!

To me, here’s the key portion of Roberts’ opinion:

Under the mandate, if an individual does not maintain health insurance, the only consequence is that he must make an additional payment to the IRS when he pays his taxes. See §5000A(b). That, according to the Government,means the mandate can be regarded as establishing acondition—not owning health insurance—that triggers atax—the required payment to the IRS. Under that theory, the mandate is not a legal command to buy insurance.Rather, it makes going without insurance just another thing the Government taxes, like buying gasoline or earn­ing income. And if the mandate is in effect just a tax hike on certain taxpayers who do not have health insurance, itmay be within Congress’s constitutional power to tax.

The question is not whether that is the most naturalinterpretation of the mandate, but only whether it is a “fairly possible” one. Crowell v. Benson, 285 U. S. 22, 62 (1932). As we have explained, “every reasonable construc­tion must be resorted to, in order to save a statute from unconstitutionality.” Hooper v. California, 155 U. S. 648, 657 (1895).  [emphasis mine]

Among other things, this has always clearly been a tax, as Roberts makes clear.  The fact that the Democrats never wanted to actually call it a “tax” for political reasons does not change that.  As the emphasized text shows, this is also a model of genuine judicial restraint.

And why do I care so much and am so damn happy?  Because millions and millions of Americans will now be able to have health insurance (and thus better health) than if this were struck down.  Now tell me how that’s a bad thing?  Ezra on the personal implications.


Why the hell not.  My prediction on health care:

6-3 court strikes down Individual Mandate, but leaves the rest of the law intact (if you are concerned about the implications, I presume you are already a regular reader of Ezra).

Next likely outcome: 5-4 to uphold thing completely.

Armageddon, but I genuinely think not very likely: court overturns entire law.  I honestly don’t think either Kennedy or Roberts wants to go that far in either A) politicizing the Supreme Court; or B) blatantly over-turning generations of precedent.  I hope I’m not wrong.

Based on today’s schedule, I will see the result come out while watching CNN in the gym– that feels weird.  Here’s hoping that the result is my predicted 2nd most likely outcome.

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