Skip to comments.Dems fear Supreme Court will rule against Obama on healthcare reform
Posted on 11/15/2011 9:39:39 AM PST by freespirited
Democrats on Capitol Hill are worried that the Supreme Court will rule against President Obamas healthcare reform law.
Over the last couple weeks, congressional Democrats have told The Hill that the law faces danger in the hands of the Supreme Court, which The New York Times editorial page recently labeled the most conservative high court since the 1950s.
While the lawmakers are not second-guessing the administrations legal strategy, some are clearly bracing for defeat.
Of course Im concerned, said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). The justices decide for insurance companies, they decide for oil companies, they decide for the wealthy too often.
The pessimism is fueled in part by the John Roberts courts decision in the 2010 Citizens United case on corporate spending in elections, which Brown has called the worst in his memory.
The comments underscore the gamble the White House took when it opted not to seek to delay the high courts review until after the 2012 election. That decision leaves the fate of Democrats signature domestic achievement in the hands of a right-leaning court that has consistently ruled against liberals on everything from campaign finance to the District of Columbias gun ban to Bush v. Gore.
The White House and House Democratic leaders were on message on Monday, refusing to display any doubt that they will prevail.
We know the Affordable Care Act is constitutional, White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer said in a statement Monday, and are confident the Supreme Court will agree.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said, We are confident that the Supreme Court will find the law constitutional.
However, other supporters of the law are not so sure.
Earlier this month, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) initially declined to comment, but when pressed on the conservative nature of the court, said, We all know [the justices] are going to put their ideologies aside and do the right thing. Right?
He then paused and said with a laugh, Maybe we dont know.
The Supreme Courts announcement on Monday that it will hear challenges to the laws individual mandate and Medicaid expansion all but assures a ruling right before the 2012 election on the Democrats signature domestic achievement. The administration in September turned down its last chance to delay a ruling when it declined to request a full appeals court review first.
Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) said he has no problem with the White House wanting a decision as soon as possible.
We need certainty, Carper said.
Politically, there are arguments both ways, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) told The Hill. But dispelling uncertainty and seeking to resolve important questions of constitutional law when there are very grave practical implications is certainly the responsible course to take.
Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), who is up for reelection, said trying to delay the high courts review just would have been political, and I think what theyre trying to do is get this decided on its merits. And I think thats appropriate. I really dont have an opinion on how the court will treat this case, Nelson said. Itll be whatever it is.
Nelson supported healthcare reform in 2010, and that vote is expected to hamper his bid for a third term.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), a former state attorney general who sits on the Judiciary Committee, said that the individual mandate might very well fall, but that the laws defenders have gotten overexcited about it.
The rest of the law will most likely survive, he said, preserving popular provisions that should help Democrats in the 2012 elections.
So the mandate falls? Big deal, Whitehouse said. I think a family able to keep their sick kids on insurance even though they have pre-existing conditions, kids out of college able to stay on their parents policies while they look for that first job with healthcare things like that are what will stick. Irrespective of what the Supreme Court says, thats the things people really care about and are counting on.
Democrats have vowed to come up with a remedy if the individual mandate is ruled unconstitutional. However, healthcare experts say such a fix will not be easy, noting that the mandate helps lower health premiums.
A health insurance law without a mandate would likely make it too costly for insurers to abide by the laws requirements to cover all sick people without charging them more because it would attract mostly high-risk people.
Congressional Democrats, many of whom have railed against the Roberts court, released statements on Monday that predicted victory.
House Ways and Means Committee ranking member Sandy Levin (D-Mich.) said he has every reason to believe the court will uphold the law.
Rep. Pete Stark (Calif.), the top Democrat on the Ways and Means Health panel, said, Im looking forward to a Supreme Court ruling that will force Republicans to join Democrats in governing instead of continuing their political grandstanding.
Republicans are just as certain theyll prevail.
The laws individual mandate is both unpopular and unconstitutional, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and Health subcommittee Chairman Wally Herger (R-Calif.) said in a joint statement, and [we are] pleased that the court is acting swiftly to address the issues in this case.
I am under that impression also. So all she has to do is refuse to do so.....
Perhaps Sen. Whitehouse didn't notice that in their haste to slam ACA through they forgot to include a severability clause? Or that the court has agreed to hear arguments on severability?
If there is no severability, if one provision is found unconstitutional the whole bill is unconstitutional.
Scalia’s work during his stint at the Office of Legal Counsel created havoc on his outlook of the clause.
I hope I am wrong, but history of his decisions involving Federal “encroachments” is very broad to say the least.
So basically nee this is overturned as I think it will be then that means that Obama wasted 2 years watching the economy meltdown by spending so much time on this and then the failed stimulus that did nothing to create jobs....the RNC should flash photos with things said in the background about all of these failed things and ask at the end when he was going to think about the economy with a long line of people around the building waiting at the unemployment office.
I’m hoping we can un elect Sen Brown in 2012.
Insurance is such a mess today. Thanks to political mucking around with it, and then the companies’ trying to get around the mucking. The end result is a company that fights the customer tooth and nail for valid claims through a myriad of a maze of paperwork.
THe dem solution is socialist. Force everyone to buy it.
We need to overhaul it completely. And I think customers need to be more informed about the companies and if you think they are being irresponsible by giving out mega bonuses to their top people while nickling and diming policy holders with valid claims, they should know that’s how that company operates and avoid them.
Or join some of the Christian healthcare groups that assist in covering medical problems. They’re considered valid plans to join even under Obamacare.
Based on they way some of these lower courts have ruled including the most recent with a staunch conservative judge (HA!) appointed by Reagan I would not be so sure.
The way I see it, it will be by pure luck that this monstrosity is removed.
The Florida case, backed by 26 total states is the going to be the key to this whole thing. It was presented soundly and decided in our favor through the original decision and the appeals court. The Virginia case which ended up facing the 2-1 Dem case is also strong, but will require this court to reverse the decision. I believe when these two legal teams combine their effort, our chances on the mandate are good. Although Scalia has shown a love for the commerce clause, he also is likely to recognize the difference in requirement to purchase a product for 300,000,000 people vs his use of the clause in the past. He’s with us a heck of a lot more than he is against us on these major issues. That is my gut feeling, at this point.
Beginning to set up the narrative so if they lose they can say, “see, we TOLD you this right wing court would vote against the people”
We are living out the movie “Idiocracy”.
If they declare the individual mandate is unconstitutional,
but keep the requirement for insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions...
I, along with millions of others, may very well drop coverage until I get sick.
Wish I could do that with my car insurance!
Hello? State Farm? I just had a wreck and I need for you to pay for it.
With the disclosures concerning Pelosi’s IPO shenanigans and the high percentage of Department of Energy grants and loan guarantees that went to Friends of Obama, you would think that Democrats would at least blush when they engage in this kind of “friend of the little guy” class warfare nonsense.
Exactly. Obama’s system does not work without the individual mandate.
If they OK the individual mandate it will be off to the races with government control over the individual in America. Commerce power analysis has already been a disaster. I’m seriously starting to contemplate other places to spend the second half of my life.
Re: Perhaps Sen. Whitehouse didnt notice that in their haste to slam ACA through they forgot to include a severability clause?
Per: Roger Vinson, of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida ruling,
The lack of a severability clause in this case is significant because one hadbeen included in an earlier version of the Act, but it was removed in the bill thatsubsequently became law. Where Congress includes [particular] language in anearlier version of a bill but deletes it prior to enactment, it may be presumed thatthe [omitted provision] was not intended