[Here is the Supreme Court's Full Decision]
But anyone understanding Politics (and policy), know that Karma was in play. If this was a victory for President Obama, they need more victories like this. A pyrrhic victory.
|Battle of Asculum (279 BC)|
Let's wind the clocks back to when President Obama was Senator Obama and Chief Justice Roberts was Judge Roberts:
The bottom line is this: I will be voting against John Roberts' nomination. I do so with considerable reticence. I hope that I am wrong. I hope that this reticence on my part proves unjustified and that Judge Roberts will show himself to not only be an outstanding legal thinker but also someone who upholds the Court's historic role as a check on the majoritarian impulses of the executive branch and the legislative branch. I hope that he will recognize who the weak are and who the strong are in our society. I hope that his jurisprudence is one that stands up to the bullies of all ideological stripes.
Let me conclude with just one more comment about this confirmation process. I was deeply disturbed by some statements that were made by largely Democratic advocacy groups when ranking member Senator Leahy announced that he would support Judge Roberts. Although the scales have tipped in a different direction for me, I am deeply admiring of the work and the thought that Senator Leahy has put into making his decision. The knee-jerk unbending and what I consider to be unfair attacks on Senator Leahy's motives were unjustified. Unfortunately, both parties have fallen victim to this kind of pressure.
I believe every Senator on the other side of the aisle, if they were honest, would acknowledge that the same unyielding, unbending, dogmatic approach to judicial confirmation has in large part been responsible for the kind of poisonous atmosphere that exists in this Chamber regarding judicial nominations. It is tempting, then, for us on this side of the aisle to go tit for tat.
And when it came down to the vote, here is how it occurred:
Seven years later, Chief Justice Roberts held the deciding vote on President Obama's chief piece of Legislation: Obamacare.
How did it work out?
Although the Chief Justice rejected the government’s Commerce Clause argument, he agreed with one of the government’s alternative arguments: the mandate imposes a tax on people who do not buy health insurance, and that tax is something that Congress can impose using its constitutional taxing power. He acknowledged that the mandate (and its accompanying penalty) is primarily intended to get people to buy insurance, rather than to raise money, but it is, he explained, still a tax. If someone who does not want to buy health insurance is willing to pay the tax, that’s the end of the matter; the government cannot do anything else.
Justice Ginsburg (joined by Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan) agreed with the Chief Justice’s bottom line – that the mandate is constitutional under Congress’s ability to tax – even while disagreeing with his Commerce Clause conclusion; those four Justices would have held that Congress could use its power to regulate commerce to pass the mandate. With five votes to uphold the mandate, it will survive, and the Court did not need to consider the “severability” issue — that is, what other parts of the law would have to go if the mandate were unconstitutional.
So, Congress was raising revenue, but they really didn't want to talk about that at the time, and that's enough for the taxing power. Too bad if the people didn't notice. Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito — says it matters that Congress called this a "penalty" — expressing that to fail to buy insurance is wrongdoing that is being punished. And here's where Scalia-Kennedy-Thomas-Alito talk about democratic theory and accountability:
Taxes have never been popular, see, e.g., Stamp Act of 1765, and in part for that reason, the Constitution requires tax increases to originate in the House of Representatives. See Art. I, §7, cl. 1. That is to say, they must originate in the legislative body most accountable to the people, where legislators must weigh the need for the tax against the terrible price they might pay at their next election, which is never more than two years off. The Federalist No. 58 “defend[ed] the decision to give the origination power to the House on the ground that the Chamber that is more accountable to the people should have the primary role in raising revenue.” United States v. Munoz-Flores, 495 U. S. 385, 395 (1990) . We have no doubt that Congress knew precisely what it was doing when it rejected an earlier version of this legislation that imposed a tax instead of a requirement-with-penalty. See Affordable Health Care for America Act, H. R. 3962, 111th Cong., 1st Sess., §501 (2009); America’s Healthy Future Act of 2009, S. 1796, 111th Cong., 1st Sess., §1301. Imposing a tax through judicial legislation inverts the constitutional scheme, and places the power to tax in the branch of government least accountable to the citizenry.
(Althouse with Court's dissent)
How does Karma fit in? How was this a Pyrrhic victory?
CJ Roberts sided with the Liberal judges on this vote, but by doing so threw it back to Congress, spacifically the House of Representatives, actually the House Ways and means Committee.
No matter how the POTUS campaign goes, the House is not flipping. Thus, the wasted victory. if the Senate flips too, there goes the Tax and Obamacare.
If President Obama loses to Governor Romney, the tax and Obamacare loses in the next cycle.
Maybe Senator Obama should have voted for Justice Roberts for the Supreme Court. President Obama would not have trouble for his re-election. Karma comes when you least expect it.