WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

Suspense as the nation awaits Supreme Court's ruling on health-care overhaul

It's fair to say if supporters of President Obama's health care overhaul felt confident and optimistic going into this week's Supreme Court hearings, many of those same people are panicking now.

Conspiracy theories are already circulating. For example, Solicitor General Don Verrilli purposely dropped the ball to advance President Obama's re-election prospects. That's the theory that the President wins by losing: If the Justices overturn significant chunks of the Affordable Care Act - or all of it - some Republican / conservative voters might lose the urgency to show-up at the polls. Conversely, many Democrats & progressives would be absolutely energized.

Delaware Valley political scientist & pollster Dr. Terry Madonna - Director of the Center for Politics & Public Affairs at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster - subscribes to that theory. But Madonna says it could work either way: Whichever party loses can boost turnout this November.

But the dean of journalists covering the White House - Kenneth T. Walsh at U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT - doesn't necessarily buy that argument. He told me a Supreme Court repudiation of the President's health care overhaul would likely undermine the President. People, even Democrats, would question the President's judgment for devoting so much time and energy for a pie-in-the-sky agenda which represented Constitutional overreach.

Let's say the Justices rule in predictable fashion, with all the "conservatives" voting to throw out the Affordable Care Act, and all the "liberals" voting to uphold it. On the heels of the high court's settlement of the disputed Bush/Gore Presidential election and "Citizens United", I suspect growing numbers of Americans will see the Supremes as nothing more than an extension of our polarized politics.

But some observers still believe at least some of the Justices will do whatever they can to avoid that perception.
See this analysis from The NEW REPUBLIC...


Still, the dominant narrative remains that this Supreme Court could very well overturn "Obamacare".

But, not so fast: While Justice Anthony Kennedy famously noted Tuesday that the individual mandate "changes the relationship of the Federal government to the individual,
Kennedy also suggested he could be persuaded "the insurance market is unique". He further noted that uninsured people affect "the rates of insurance and the costs of providing medical care in a way that is not true in other industries."

Posted at 8:19am on March 29, 2012 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Thu, Mar 29, 2012 10:32am
I had the rare opportunity yesterday to watch commentary on the Court hearings on both CNN and Fox. The normal differences in interpretations were present. CNN sided with the administration and thought the hearings were looking good for Mr. Obama while Fox thought all was not well.

Wolf Blitzer and The Situation Room crew were saying Mr. Obama has nothing to worry about. Apparently, they were not observing the hearings. The Justices were laughing at administration witnesses! Fox repeatedly pointed to Justice Kennedy who is showing no patience for the law.

If the Court throws out the entire law – which I do not expect – Mr. Obama is toast. I firmly agree with Mr. Walsh. A man who considers himself an expert in constitutional law messing up that badly? Have fun at re-election time! If they throw out only the mandate – which I do expect – it will make it harder for Gov. Romney to continue saying he will throw out Obama care in its entirety.

In any case, an overturn of the entire law will not result in Republicans staying away from the polls in November. Too many polls show Obama with a very high negativity rating. He is gone regardless of how this decision goes.

Thu, Mar 29, 2012 11:39am

This conspiracy theory about the Obama lawyers losing the Supreme Court case on purpose ranks right up there with conspiracy theories about Elvis working at the Wawa convenience store on Concord Pike.

Americans still have many reasons to feel energized to go to the polls to take back the White House. If the current regime continues, government spending and government debt will continue to skyrocket the point of economic collapse. We'll continue to invent big government programs that our grandkids will be forced to pay. We'll continue to start wars and occupy sovereign nations at the cost of trillions of dollars to taxpayers.

Another big incentive to go to the polls to evict the current president: If we don't, several Supreme Court justices will pass away or retire in the next four years and they will be replaced by 40 year old liberal activist judges who will impose their own personal radical agenda on the American people for the next 50 years.

Thu, Mar 29, 2012 12:00pm
I found an interesting interview with our very own Tom Carper about what’s in the “health care” bill.


” A fascinating moment of candor captured by CNS, ostensibly offered as proof that Carper’s lazy but actually much more troubling than that. If this were a simple case of a senator showing disinterest in his work, the problem’s easily solved: Vote him out and get a new senator. The thing is, he’s right about legislative language being incomprehensible, especially when, as in the case of ObamaCare, the subject matter has to be reconciled with so many other provisions of existing commercial law. Essentially, it’s an endless labyrinth of cross-referencing other statutes; you’d have to have the entire U.S. Code in front of you to follow the language accurately (or, better yet, a point-and-click version on the Internet) and even then your eyes would glaze over in short order from trying to keep track of it all.Point being, federal law long ago reached the point of bloat and bureaucracy where even legislators can’t digest it. The most they can do is trust the staffers who actually write the stuff to harmonize it well enough that unintended consequences are kept to a minimum. How you address that problem — starting with the tax code, natch — I have no idea.”

I thought that once ObamaCare was passed we would then know what’s really in it…yet we still don’t know exactly what is in this “labyrinth of cross-referenced statutes”.

Thu, Mar 29, 2012 4:20pm
That is disturbing to hear in an election year. Is it time for us to do to him what we did to Bill Roth when he outstayed his effectiveness?

Fri, Mar 30, 2012 12:55am
Teatime: Like you, I doubt that anyone will find Elvis working at the Wawa on Concord Pike, however there's still a chance you might catch Mr. Pizza there!

Mike from Delaware
Fri, Mar 30, 2012 11:29am
Teatime you believe Obama's lawyers tried to lose the Supreme court case on purpose just to motivate their base? That's a bit of a stretch. This is Obama's signature law, his baby, his legacy since peace really wasn't to be his signature achievement even though the Pulitzer folks gave him the Peace Prize. Obama was correct when he said, he didn't deserve it. I believe that was the one time even Rush agreed with Obama - haha !

Teatime said: "Another big incentive to go to the polls to evict the current president: If we don't, several Supreme Court justices will pass away or retire in the next four years and they will be replaced by 40 year old liberal activist judges who will impose their own personal radical agenda on the American people for the next 50 years."

This is an important point. As the Supremes have become activist judges, yes who is sitting in those black robes does make a difference. Good Point.

EarlGrey: It's scary that Carper won't read the Obamacare bill (he depends on his assistants to do his job which means his assistants are actually representing us NOT Carper as they are telling the unread Carper what the bill says and who knows if they read it correctly or at all).

It is also scary that these knuckleheads (members of Congress) are allowed to write such a bill that most folks are not capable of reading and probably won't understand even if they did. So we probably can assume that most if not all of the Congress even bothered reading Obamacare and their votes are based on what their assistants told them. NOW THAT'S SCARY. The un-elected junior assistants are running the nation. Somehow I don't believe the Founding Fathers intended our government to function that way.

Allan Loudell
Fri, Mar 30, 2012 3:48pm
Mike from Delaware...

In fairness, I don't think teatime actually believes that theory about the Solicitor-General. Some liberal, progressive supporters of the President's health-care overhaul have postulated that explanation for the Solicitor-General's less-than-stellar performance this week.

Allan Loudell

Mike from Delaware
Sun, Apr 1, 2012 4:28pm
Allan: I was surprised that teatime had backed that theory, but I think, having gone back and re-reading Teatime's post that I misread what he said.

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