HolyCoast: The Liberal Echo Chamber That Gave Us Obamacare

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Liberal Echo Chamber That Gave Us Obamacare

There's an interesting article in the NY Times (yes, the Times...hard to believe) on where the liberal let went wrong in designing Obamacare and why it's likely that part or all of it will be struck down this week.  Here's part of it:
Congress held no hearing on the plan’s constitutionality until nearly a year after it was signed into law. Representative Nancy Pelosi, then the House speaker, scoffed when a reporter asked what part of the Constitution empowered Congress to force Americans to buy health insurance. “Are you serious?” she asked with disdain. “Are you serious?”

Opponents of the health plan were indeed serious, and so was the Supreme Court, which devoted more time to hearing the case than to any other in decades. A White House that had assumed any challenge would fail now fears that a centerpiece of Mr. Obama’s presidency may be partly or completely overturned on a theory that it gave little credence. The miscalculation left the administration on the defensive as its legal strategy evolved over the last two years.

“It led to some people taking it too lightly,” said a Congressional lawyer who like others involved in drafting the law declined to be identified before the ruling. “It shouldn’t strike anybody as a close call,” the lawyer added, but “given where we are now, do I wish we had focused even more on this? I guess I would say yes.”

Looking back, Democrats said they had had every reason for confidence, given decades of Supreme Court precedents affirming Congress’s authority to regulate interstate commerce, and lawyers who defended the law said they had always taken the challenge seriously even if politicians had not. But they underestimated the chances that conservative judges might, in this view, radically reinterpret or discard those precedents.

Adversaries said the law’s proponents had been too attentive to liberal academics who shaped public discussion. “There’s very little diversity in the legal academy among law professors,” said Randy E. Barnett, a Georgetown University law professor and a leading thinker behind the challenge. “So they’re in an echo chamber listening to people who agree with them.”
We'll find out who was right sometime this week, either Monday or Thursday (I'm betting it will be Thursday). I don't see the mandate surviving (I'm predicting 6-3 against) and I'm hoping they'll just kill the whole thing since there was no severability clause and without the mandate the law would collapse of its own weight anyway. 5-4 on that one.

1 comment:

Larry said...

George Will on ABC's This Week:

On October 22nd, 2009 Nancy Pelosi was famously asked "Is the mandate Constitutional?", and she famously exclaimed "Are you serious? Are you serious?"

I think she was completely ingenious. I think such is the political culture of the Congress since The Great Society in the 1960's that it is unintelligible to most Congressional members that we actually have a limited government -that there are things the federal government is not allowed to do. What the court has now been trying to do for six, seven, eight weeks, is draft a limiting principle on the reach of what Congress can do under the pretense, often mere pretense, of regulating commerce.