The United States Supreme Court has handed down its ruling regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) enacted by President Barack Obama in March of 2010. The bottom line is that SCOTUS upheld the health care law.
The crux of the issue was the mandate that all people must have health care and the court rejected the federal government’s argument that it was constitutional under the commerce clause, but they accepted the argument that the mandate, which if you refuse to do comes with a penalty, is a tax and because of the federal government’s taxing power, the mandate is constitutionally OK.
The decision was rendered 5-4, with Chief Justice John Roberts writing the majority opinion and siding with the justices who are regarded as more “liberal” – Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor join in the majority. That leaves Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas joining in the dissent. There is no word yet as to which justice(s) have penned the dissenting opinion(s) (or if anyone even will, though that is probably to be expected).
What is interesting about Chief Justice Roberts writing the majority opinion is that he was appointed by President George W. Bush and is generally regarded as more conservative. However, he has always maintained that he is an institutionalist- that is, he sees the court as an institution that needs to operate independently of partisan politics and ideological lines.
UPDATE: The dissent has been released as well. Justices Alito, Kennedy, Scalia and Thomas write, “The Act before us here exceeds federal power both in mandating the
purchase of health insurance and in denying nonconsenting States all
Medicaid funding. These parts of the Act are central to its design and
operation, and all the Act’s other provisions would not have been
enacted without them. In our view it must follow that the entire statute