Just about everyone was surprised by the Supreme Court’s ruling on the “Obamacare” case, and rightly so. This is a Court in its present composition that has consistently ruled in favor of big business and often by ignoring legal precedent. The Citizen’s United ruling for example, reversed over 100 years of legal precedents. So why would the Chief Justice, that stalwart conservative, create a consensus opinion to uphold the Affordable Care Act?
There is a lot of speculation, though I haven’t heard of anyone venturing the explanation that Roberts suddenly grew a conscience and decided to side with concern for the welfare of the people. His decisions have consistently and strenuously sided with the welfare of corporations over people. Some have ventured a guess that he was increasingly concerned that Americans are losing faith in the neutrality of the Court and seeing the Roberts Court as a shill for corporate America with opinions crafted after Fox Cable shows. Justice Scalia is already widely recognized as the Bill O’Reilly of the Court. I even heard some commentary about “three strikes” on the Court: Bush v Gore, Citizens United and Obamacare.
I have to admit that my astonishment over the ruling is also accompanied with a lot of angst. The opinion rejected the idea of the Act falling under the Regulation of Commerce responsibility of Congress, which could be signal of things to come further restricting the Commerce clause. Next year rulings are expected on affirmative action, job discrimination, The Civil Rights Act and voter suppression laws. Maybe our rights have been slapped around so much by this Supreme Court that we keep expecting the next blow and can’t enjoy this small victory; I don’t know. In any event, we should not be lulled by this one decision and remain vigilant.