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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

OT-P: President Obama Booed After Thanking Boston For Kevin Youkilis « CBS Boston

Political loyalties aren’t as strong as team loyalties.


NOTE: As I discussed in the Off-Topics, Politics, and the Redesign thread, in the redesign I’m making non-baseball content opt-in. Until the redesign is done (about two months), I’m designating one thread each month (similar to the basketball and soccer threads) as Off-Topic Politics (OT-P) and will restrict off-topic political conversations to that thread. Off-topic political comments which appear in other threads will be deleted. Since this thread has been highjacked, I’m designating this thread as the June OT-P thread.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 26, 2012 at 06:52 AM | 1396 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: red sox

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   401. Craig in MN Posted: June 28, 2012 at 10:29 AM (#4168408)


Isn't that technically accurate?

IOW, Roberts split the baby. He killed the mandate, but kept the penalty. IOW, congress can't tell people that they MUST buy insurance, but they can levy a fine for not buying insurance.


Well, it was never a mandate anyway (by the same logic), so he didn't do anything about any mandate. Congress fully knew that people would still not buy insurance and didn't forbid that.
   402. tshipman Posted: June 28, 2012 at 10:30 AM (#4168409)
Kennedy would have invalidated the whole thing. Jeez. Thank goodness Roberts cares about the status of the court.
   403. formerly dp Posted: June 28, 2012 at 10:32 AM (#4168411)
There's a chance to have a pretty healthy and informed discussion about the ruling here, so let's hope Jim allows that to happen and doesn't nuke the thread.

You might have missed this, which Jim added to his original comments in the lead-in:
NOTE: As I discussed in the Off-Topics, Politics, and the Redesign thread, in the redesign I’m making non-baseball content opt-in. Until the redesign is done (about two months), I’m designating one thread each month (similar to the basketball and soccer threads) as Off-Topic Politics (OT-P) and will restrict off-topic political conversations to that thread. Off-topic political comments which appear in other threads will be deleted. Since this thread has been highjacked, I’m designating this thread as the June OT-P thread.
   404. Langer Monk Posted: June 28, 2012 at 10:34 AM (#4168413)
Amy Howe:
In Plain English: The Affordable Care Act, including its individual mandate that virtually all Americans buy health insurance, is constitutional. There were not five votes to uphold it on the ground that Congress could use its power to regulate commerce between the states to require everyone to buy health insurance. However, five Justices agreed that the penalty that someone must pay if he refuses to buy insurance is a kind of tax that Congress can impose using its taxing power. That is all that matters. Because the mandate survives, the Court did not need to decide what other parts of the statute were constitutional, except for a provision that required states to comply with new eligibility requirements for Medicaid or risk losing their funding. On that question, the Court held that the provision is constitutional as long as states would only lose new funds if they didn't comply with the new requirements, rather than all of their funding.
   405. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: June 28, 2012 at 10:35 AM (#4168414)
So early reports are that the unconstitutional mandate has been ruled constitutional.

Until further notice: You poor dear.

   406. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: June 28, 2012 at 10:35 AM (#4168415)
There's a chance to have a pretty healthy and informed discussion about the ruling here, so let's hope Jim allows that to happen and doesn't nuke the thread.


Jim's updated the thread header, this is now the official OT-Politics thread for June, so it shouldn't get nuked ...
   407. spike Posted: June 28, 2012 at 10:37 AM (#4168417)
Not sure what it all means, but all the court prognosticators should resign now.
   408. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: June 28, 2012 at 10:37 AM (#4168418)
I've seen a few stories at odds with one another. It will still be a few hours before the press actually gets this right.
   409. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: June 28, 2012 at 10:37 AM (#4168419)
Wow. Roberts moving up in the world today.
   410. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: June 28, 2012 at 10:38 AM (#4168420)
IOW, Roberts split the baby. He killed the mandate, but kept the penalty. IOW, congress can't tell people that they MUST buy insurance, but they can levy a fine for not buying insurance.

No -- he held that the mandate is functionally a tax, regardless of how it's labelled. The ruling doesn't change the structure or implementation of the mandate AFAICT.
   411. Dan Szymborski Posted: June 28, 2012 at 10:39 AM (#4168421)
SA's take on the case kicks the butt of ScotusBlog.
   412. Lassus Posted: June 28, 2012 at 10:39 AM (#4168422)
I'm not sure a successful (caveats for upcoming interpretation, of course) ruling won't make people hate Obama more, actually.
   413. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: June 28, 2012 at 10:40 AM (#4168423)
Here's a chance to read for yourselves:

http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/11-393c3a2.pdf
   414. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: June 28, 2012 at 10:42 AM (#4168425)
The only silver lining is that they didn't buy the commerce clause argument. Still, ugh. Now it's even more important for Obama to lose. (Prediction, if that happens: the House repeals the mandate. And suddenly Senate Democrats decide the filibuster is a great thing after all.)
   415. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: June 28, 2012 at 10:42 AM (#4168426)
There's a chance to have a pretty healthy and informed discussion about the ruling here, so let's hope Jim allows that to happen and doesn't nuke the thread.


Ditto this, Jimmy.
   416. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 28, 2012 at 10:44 AM (#4168428)

I'm not sure a successful (caveats for upcoming interpretation, of course) ruling won't make people hate Obama more, actually.


Flags fly forever.
   417. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: June 28, 2012 at 10:45 AM (#4168430)
The only silver lining is that they didn't buy the commerce clause argument


agreed.

Does this mean Obama passed a tax increase on us all? Short-term, politically, that's not going to work for him.
   418. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: June 28, 2012 at 10:48 AM (#4168432)
Does this mean Obama passed a tax increase on us all? Short-term, politically, that's not going to work for him.

No, b/c most Americans won't be affected by the mandate.
   419. aleskel Posted: June 28, 2012 at 10:49 AM (#4168433)
Does this mean Obama passed a tax increase on us all? Short-term, politically, that's not going to work for him.

Oh please. Everyone who makes predictions about what the political implications of the ruling will be is just pulling sh*t out of their asses. The truth is that the public in general barely pays attention to policy, and no attention at all to process. I saw a poll recently in which 25% of respondents believed the ACA had already been repealed.
   420. Lassus Posted: June 28, 2012 at 10:50 AM (#4168434)
Between this and the Citizens United ruling, if there's a reason for every side to hate the SCOTUS, does that mean it's kind of working?

I know that's completely simplistic, but something about it seems almost comforting.
   421. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: June 28, 2012 at 10:51 AM (#4168437)
The only silver lining is that they didn't buy the commerce clause argument. Still, ugh. Now it's even more important for Obama to lose.


Davey tears are full of rainbows.
   422. zonk Posted: June 28, 2012 at 10:51 AM (#4168438)
Does this mean Obama passed a tax increase on us all? Short-term, politically, that's not going to work for him.


Only if "all of us" make about $80k annually and don't have health insurance... which, I don't believe to be the case.
   423. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: June 28, 2012 at 10:52 AM (#4168439)
Oh please. Everyone who makes predictions about what the political implications of the ruling will be is just pulling sh*t out of their asses. The truth is that the public in general barely pays attention to policy, and no attention at all to process. I saw a poll recently in which 25% of respondents believed the ACA had already been repealed.


This. The GOP will attempt to *spin* this as a new tax, probably. Because otherwise they'd have to say "all that rhetoric of the last two years; we got ############ by the court and sent home." Obviously that's not their play.
   424. Langer Monk Posted: June 28, 2012 at 10:53 AM (#4168440)
Lyle:
Essentially, a majority of the Court has accepted the Administration's backup argument that, as Roberts put it, "the mandate can be regarded as establishing a condition -- not owning health insurance -- that triggers a tax -- the required payment to IRS." Actually, this was the Administration's second backup argument: first argument was Commerce Clause, second was Necessary and Proper Clause, and third was as a tax. The third argument won.


A reminder of the importance of Alternative Theories in appellate work.
   425. zonk Posted: June 28, 2012 at 10:53 AM (#4168442)
Finally, I can pursue my career dreams of chairing a death panel...
   426. zonk Posted: June 28, 2012 at 10:54 AM (#4168446)
Anyone gotten to the Medicaid limitations that the court narrowly defined? Sounds like the feds can't go full exclusion on states that reject the floor increases, but the ruling is a bit dense for me and haven't seen the particulars discussed anywhere.
   427. tshipman Posted: June 28, 2012 at 10:56 AM (#4168447)
Between this and the Citizens United ruling, if there's a reason for every side to hate the SCOTUS, does that mean it's kind of working?

I know that's completely simplistic, but something about it seems almost comforting.


I think that's what motivated Roberts' decision, actually. If he votes as part of a 5-4 to overturn all of ACA, it really had the potential to provoke a backlash against the court.

I don't think, IOW, that Roberts' decision was without an eye towards the political winds. Thus, the choice to limit the precedent by basing the decision on taxing powers rather than commerce clause.
   428. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: June 28, 2012 at 10:56 AM (#4168448)
10:52 Lyle: The rejection of the Commerce Clause and Nec. and Proper Clause should be understood as a major blow to Congress's authority to pass social welfare laws. Using the tax code -- especially in the current political environment -- to promote social welfare is going to be a very chancy proposition.

10:53 Lyle: Interesting, at least to scholars, that while the mandate and its attached penalty are a tax for purposes of its constitutionality, but not for the Anti-Injunction Act. If it were a tax for AIA purposes, this case would not have been decided re the mandate.
   429. The Good Face Posted: June 28, 2012 at 10:56 AM (#4168449)
Finally, I can pursue my career dreams of chairing a death panel...


Get in line buddy.
   430. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 28, 2012 at 10:56 AM (#4168450)
The only silver lining is that they didn't buy the commerce clause argument. Still, ugh.


Agreed. I predicted that it wouldn't survive either under the commerce clause or under the taxing power. So I was half right, but 90% wrong.


   431. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: June 28, 2012 at 10:58 AM (#4168452)
I'm not sure a successful (caveats for upcoming interpretation, of course) ruling won't make people hate Obama more, actually.

It'll make the yahoos go even crazier than they already are, if such a thing is possible. But there's not a snowball's chance in Hell that Congress will ever repeal this law**.

And once it's in place for a few years and reality begins to overtake the propaganda, the Republicans' worst fears will be realized, as the law comes to be seen as a basic pillar of security rather than the bogeyman that it's been presented as by the right wing noise machine.

And BTW I distinctly remember reading in the aftermath of the oral arguments that Roberts might turn out to be the crucial swing vote. I can only imagine the heat he's going to be taking for this, and it won't be pretty.

**See Post # 414 above, and add a "duh".
   432. aleskel Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:00 AM (#4168454)
And BTW I distinctly remember reading in the aftermath of the oral arguments that Roberts might turn out to be the crucial swing vote. I can only imagine the heat he's going to be taking for this, and it won't be pretty.

from a National Review Online writer:

Roberts is going to turn out to be another in the long list of GWB mistakes. Complete squish.


Heh.
   433. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:01 AM (#4168456)
Not sure what it all means, but all the court prognosticators should resign now.


All prognosticators everywhere should resign. They're almost always wrong. Economic forecasters, sports draft or recruiting analysts, TV weathermen ... useless parasites, one & all, AFAICT.
   434. Langer Monk Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:03 AM (#4168458)
Anyone gotten to the Medicaid limitations that the court narrowly defined? Sounds like the feds can't go full exclusion on states that reject the floor increases, but the ruling is a bit dense for me and haven't seen the particulars discussed anywhere.


Haven't gotten there yet, but I believe the idea is that Feds cannot coerce States that choose not to expand Medicaid by taking away all the money they get under the "un-expanded" Medicaid.
   435. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:03 AM (#4168459)
The rejection of the Commerce Clause and Nec. and Proper Clause should be understood as a major blow to Congress's authority to pass social welfare laws.


UNLESS its to keep those stupid potheads from toking a joint!
   436. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:03 AM (#4168460)
(Prediction, if that happens: the House repeals the mandate. And suddenly Senate Democrats decide the filibuster is a great thing after all.)
Please, please, don't throw us liberals into that briar patch. We would hate it, more than anything, if you removed the largest anti-majoritarian obstacle to legislation in the American system of governance.

If this ruling does lead to Republicans destroying the filibuster in order to repeal (in some form) national health care, it will be the greatest victory for the left since the 60s. If you hate social democracy, the filibuster is your bestest friend.
   437. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:04 AM (#4168461)
I think that's what motivated Roberts' decision, actually. If he votes as part of a 5-4 to overturn all of ACA, it really had the potential to provoke a backlash against the court.

I don't think, IOW, that Roberts' decision was without an eye towards the political winds.
I am no expert whatsoever but to me that seems really really unlikely on something this major. I take it on faith that the chief justice expressed his legal opinion.
   438. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:04 AM (#4168462)
I think that's what motivated Roberts' decision, actually. If he votes as part of a 5-4 to overturn all of ACA, it really had the potential to provoke a backlash against the court.

I don't think, IOW, that Roberts' decision was without an eye towards the political winds. Thus, the choice to limit the precedent by basing the decision on taxing powers rather than commerce clause.


My motto for today: Never look a gift horse in the mouth. This isn't single payer, but it's sure as hell an improvement over the Darwinian health care system we've got now.

   439. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:05 AM (#4168463)
Oh please. Everyone who makes predictions about what the political implications of the ruling will be is just pulling sh*t out of their asses. The truth is that the public in general barely pays attention to policy, and no attention at all to process. I saw a poll recently in which 25% of respondents believed the ACA had already been repealed.


Wow, sarcasm not allowed today. A handful of you guys fell for this. Sam elaborates further on my attempts at humor. Talking heads must spin, we must talk about the politics of this before lunch, nevermind the opinion hasn't even be read yet. What does it all mean!!!
   440. Der-K: Hipster doofus Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:07 AM (#4168465)
Silver talked about court prognosticators yesterday.

It will be very interesting to see how the first few years go - these are significant changes and will not be without bumps in the road.

I take it on faith that the chief justice expressed his legal opinion.

As do I, particularly given what I've heard about him.


A handful of you guys fell for this.

Struck me as unlikely*, but not impossible. There has been some pretty incredible misinformation spread about this issue...
(meant non-partisanly - dealing with this reform is a significant part of my job)

*EDIT: I was referring to the poll saying 25% thought it had already been repealed.
   441. aleskel Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:07 AM (#4168466)
Wow, sarcasm not allowed today. A handful of you guys fell for this. Sam elaborates further on my attempts at humor. Talking heads must spin, we must talk about the politics of this before lunch, nevermind the opinion hasn't even be read yet. What does it all mean!!!

apologies, but in the current political/media environment it's hard to separate parody from the real deal
   442. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:08 AM (#4168467)
Comment on the WP website that's worth passing on:

davric
11:05 AM EDT

The crystal ball on my desk tells me that by 2014 the Tea Party's remnants will be running "Government hands off my Obamacare" campaigns!
   443. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:11 AM (#4168471)
The rejection of the Commerce Clause and Nec. and Proper Clause should be understood as a major blow to Congress's authority to pass social welfare laws. Using the tax code -- especially in the current political environment -- to promote social welfare is going to be a very chancy proposition.
My understanding is that Roberts decided not to uphold Obamacare on Commerce Clause "necessary/proper" based on the activity/inactivity distinction that is contained in secret conservative constitutions (the ones that read, "sucker" after the 14th and 15th amendments).

Mockery aside, no other major aspects of the social democratic state regulate "inactivity" in any particular way, so it shouldn't matter much in the future.
   444. tshipman Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:12 AM (#4168472)
It will be very interesting to see how the first few years go - these are significant changes and will not be without bumps in the road.


I think that once the economy gets to a fuller recovery, and the law goes into effect, it will eventually become quite popular.

People don't complain bitterly about their electric utility. PPACA turned health insurers into utilities.
   445. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:13 AM (#4168473)
I was just perusing the Righty-Blogosphere and people are going absolute nuts- the Teapers haven't been this riled up for quite some time... some very nasty things being said about Roberts...

The Lefty-Blogosphere seems to mostly be in shock, but I guess more and more will start taunting the righties soon enough...

   446. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:13 AM (#4168474)
It'll make the yahoos go even crazier than they already are, if such a thing is possible. But there's not a snowball's chance in Hell that Congress will ever repeal this law**.


Well, if the GOP House were to actually partner with the liberals in the House to pass universal coverage, that would get through Congress I suspect.
   447. Joey B. is being stalked by a (Gonfa) loon Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:13 AM (#4168476)
Oh man, today is a world class Diaper Doozy. This thread will be probably be about 1,500 posts before the day is over.
   448. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:14 AM (#4168477)
I take it on faith that the chief justice expressed his legal opinion.
Well, I don't take on faith that anyone in power has "legal opinions" that aren't significantly "political opinions." The sorts of people with the political skill to become super powerful supreme court justice really aren't wired that way.

I think that Roberts was most likely expressing his real opinion on the legal issues (and on the merits, it's hard to see how the implementation of the mandate isn't a tax that just wasn't called one for political reasons), but I am confident that establishing himself as a decision-maker and a moderate, and maintaining a historical connection to a long tradition of Supreme Court decisions on the welfare state were a part of informing his decision.
   449. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:14 AM (#4168478)
Agreed. I predicted that it wouldn't survive either under the commerce clause or under the taxing power. So I was half right, but 90% wrong.


Ray (or David, or any anti-ACA folks really): How does today's ruling make you *rethink your own assumptions about the law, the Constitution or the public good?
   450. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:15 AM (#4168479)
People don't complain bitterly about their electric utility.


Really?
   451. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:16 AM (#4168481)
Anyone gotten to the Medicaid limitations that the court narrowly defined? Sounds like the feds can't go full exclusion on states that reject the floor increases, but the ruling is a bit dense for me and haven't seen the particulars discussed anywhere.
The ruling is simple: Congress can expand Medicaid and condition additional federal Medicaid funding to the states on their participation in that expansion; it can't condition all preexisting federal Medicaid funding to the states on their participation in that expansion. That superficially sounds like splitting the baby, but is actually a complete defeat for the administration on that issue.
   452. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:16 AM (#4168482)
I think that's what motivated Roberts' decision, actually. If he votes as part of a 5-4 to overturn all of ACA, it really had the potential to provoke a backlash against the court.
Overturning an unpopular law would provoke a backlash?
   453. Craig in MN Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:17 AM (#4168484)
I take it on faith that the chief justice expressed his legal opinion.


As do I, particularly given what I've heard about him.



IANAL, but it seems to me that he wants to defer to Congress (and the states to some extent) as much as possible, and make the least disruptive ruling possible. Calling the penalty a tax is the least expansive and disruptive ruling he could make, and letting states decide if they want to expand medicaid or not is the least disruptive of that program. In that way, it was a legally conservative opinion. The other 8 justices either wanted to expand commerce clause or abridge congresses taxing and regulating power.
   454. Der-K: Hipster doofus Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:18 AM (#4168485)
I think that once the economy gets to a fuller recovery, and the law goes into effect, it will eventually become quite popular.

People don't complain bitterly about their electric utility. PPACA turned health insurers into utilities.

Alls I'm saying is that the transition will be interesting - particularly as factors used to calculate rates change - some people will see significant changes in what they cost.

...but I have little doubt that establishing himself as a decision-maker and a moderate, and maintaining a historical connection to a long tradition of Supreme Court decisions on the welfare state were a part of informing his decision.

I agree with this as well (less so on the issue of moderation, but more wrt maintaining that connection and developing a legacy).

Craig/453: I agree with that as well. [/tevye]
   455. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:18 AM (#4168486)
I'm as giddy as any good liberal today, but Chief Justice Roberts has a long way to go before he makes up for Citizens United and its progeny (like, say, Monday's.)
   456. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:19 AM (#4168487)
Please, please, don't throw us liberals into that briar patch. We would hate it, more than anything, if you removed the largest anti-majoritarian obstacle to legislation in the American system of governance.

If this ruling does lead to Republicans destroying the filibuster in order to repeal (in some form) national health care, it will be the greatest victory for the left since the 60s. If you hate social democracy, the filibuster is your bestest friend.
I agree with all that. I didn't say the first thing about "Republicans destroying the filibuster." I simply said that Democrats who have whined about the "needs 60 votes to pass anything" line would suddenly discover that this is a good thing.
   457. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:19 AM (#4168488)
Are there other examples of "taxes" that function the way they are fitting this under Congress's taxing authority? In other words, a "tax" that is what we would normally think of as a "fine" or "penalty" and not tied back, somehow or other, specifically to an individual's income? Is a tax versus a financial penalty a distinction without a difference in legal/legislative terms?
   458. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:20 AM (#4168490)
Does this mean Obama passed a tax increase on us all? Short-term, politically, that's not going to work for him.

No, b/c most Americans won't be affected by the mandate.


No because polls show that most people who vote is influenced by their dislike of taxes are voters who would vote against Obama anyway- and believed Obama had raised their taxes before this anyway.

IMHO Obama/Romney is still 50/50 and the rate of growth/unemployment rate between now and November is going to be more important

.... It is amusing how so many rightwing commentators are now saying things like Romeny and Congress will "fix" this after November... Gee whatever happened to Romneycare?
   459. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:22 AM (#4168491)
People don't complain bitterly about their electric utility.


Yes they do, where do you live?
   460. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:23 AM (#4168492)
I think that's what motivated Roberts' decision, actually. If he votes as part of a 5-4 to overturn all of ACA, it really had the potential to provoke a backlash against the court.

Overturning an unpopular law would provoke a backlash?
I'm certainly with David on the merits of this issue. Not only is Obamacare nowhere close to popular enough for backlash theory to be plausible, but further there's really no evidence anywhere that "backlashes" to court decisions are predictable or common circumstances - when court decisions change the situations of people's lives, people usually come to defend those conditions rather than raging against the court decisions that created them.

Backlash Theory, while it has little empirical backing, is highly respected among Washington, DC elite as an explanation of political trends and Supreme Court decisions. John Roberts, a man who's been a DC elite for a couple decades, might believe Backlash Theory anyway. So it's not entirely a crazy suggestion.
   461. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:23 AM (#4168493)
Ray (or David, or any anti-ACA folks really): How does today's ruling make you *rethink your own assumptions about the law, the Constitution or the public good?
I haven't read the decisions yet, and won't have time to until this evening, but speaking of the ruling itself? About the same way that Mike DiMuro's ruling makes me rethink my assumptions about whether one can catch a ball without actually gloving it. Why would my opinion about the public good rest upon whether John Roberts thinks that a particular mandate to buy health insurance can be interpreted as a tax?
   462. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:23 AM (#4168494)
The ruling is simple: Congress can expand Medicaid and condition additional federal Medicaid funding to the states on their participation in that expansion; it can't condition all preexisting federal Medicaid funding to the states on their participation in that expansion. That superficially sounds like splitting the baby, but is actually a complete defeat for the administration on that issue.
David (or any of the lawyer-types): I don't know if you've had any chance to read the details, but does the ruling affect, or imply an affect, on things like DOT funding to states being withheld if they don't meet certain federal conditions?
   463. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:24 AM (#4168495)
I'm a conservative, and I'm delighted with the outcome. Overturning ACA would not have been "conservative" in any sense of the word - it would've been activism from the right wing. The court is still fundamentally conservative, will continue to issue conservative decisions for years, and the limitations on congressional power that Roberts "slipped" through - with liberal backing to increase the political legitimacy - have real teeth in the long term. Health care was going to end up reformed anyways, and the reform would've looked like this or worse. In exchange for accepting that change a few years early, we get a court with more political legitimacy to support its conservative decisions and new limits on congressional power. Seems like a fair trade to me. Roberts is a smart cookie.
   464. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:24 AM (#4168497)
Overturning an unpopular law would provoke a backlash?


1. The day David appeals to populism is upon us! Beauty.
2. The ACA is not "unpopular" in the manner you wish to portray it as being, here.
   465. Dan Szymborski Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:24 AM (#4168498)
.... It is amusing how so many rightwing commentators are now saying things like Romeny and Congress will "fix" this after November... Gee whatever happened to Romneycare?

I don't believe in states' rights (people have rights, not state or federal governments), but it's perfectly consistent for a conservative, presumably believing in states' rights, to be in favor of a program at the state level and against that exact same program at the federal level.
   466. Dan Szymborski Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:28 AM (#4168501)
The day David appeals to populism is upon us! Beauty.

He didn't say it was a bad law because it was unpopular, he said that striking the law wouldn't cause a backlash among the public because it was unpopular. Whether or not that is true or not is irrelevant (I'm not getting involved in that question) - if you're measuring whether something's popular, checking whether or not it's popular is the logical investigation.
   467. zonk Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:29 AM (#4168502)
Overturning an unpopular law would provoke a backlash?


The "law" is unpopular, but the provisions are relatively popular (besides the mandate, but when polled together and framed as a non-exclusionary question... as in, do you want provision X, Y, and Z even if it means you must keep provision A - the mandate - it scores better).

Opponents most certainly won the sturm und drang phase of the post-passage... but now that it's been through the court and survived, that phase has ended.

Now, people are going to continue to see the actual impacts on their lives - and for most folks, the impact will be negligible. For many, the changes -- elimination of pre-existing condition discrimination, limitations on other discriminatory practices for rate hikes, etc -- will be popular. For those who start getting checks back from their insurers when the MLR ratios aren't met - it will also be popular. For some -- mainly those in the sour spot where the subsidies phase into penalties for those in the individual market (and those who don't try the state exchanges), it will be unpopular. However, I think that number will be fewer than those hit by the AMT.

In short - opponents won the bloviating phase, but are now looking like the IJN circa Midway...
   468. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:30 AM (#4168504)
I simply said that Democrats who have whined about the "needs 60 votes to pass anything" line would suddenly discover that this is a good thing.
I mean, did you sleep through 2007? Or, say, All of the History of Congress in the Last Century? The majority always complains about the filibuster. "Politicians' Rhetoric Hypocritical" doesn't often make headlines.
   469. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:31 AM (#4168507)
Is a tax versus a financial penalty a distinction without a difference in legal/legislative terms?


yes.

Let's say Congress passed a law raising taxes on everyone by $5,000.
Then gave people a $5,000 tax "break" if they buy health insurance.

Same effect.

Congress has always had the power to levy a per person tax not based on income- it took a constitutional amendment to allow it tax income.

I own a house
I used to rent.
Now I can deduct a good chunk of my mortgage payment from my income, before I could not deduct any of the rent I paid.
Assuming that tax receipts are to be held constant, in essence people without mortgages are subsidizing people who don't have mortgages.

Of course I pay through the nose for property taxes now- and subsidize religious institution who do not pay property taxes.


   470. Lassus Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:32 AM (#4168508)
Why would my opinion about the public good rest upon whether John Roberts thinks that a particular mandate to buy health insurance can be interpreted as a tax?

Because your opinion and his opinion on the matter would each be based on legal study and theory; and you might think that he has enough more than you that you might consider his opinion worth considering?
   471. aleskel Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:32 AM (#4168509)
it's perfectly consistent for a conservative, presumably believing in states' rights, to be in favor of a program at the state level and against that exact same program at the federal level.

Absolutely right. But what I think has been overlooked is that the ACA was in large part a mandate on the states - either come up with your own plan and receive the waiver (like Massachusetts), or go with the ACA.
   472. Langer Monk Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:33 AM (#4168510)
I don't know if you've had any chance to read the details, but does the ruling affect, or imply an affect, on things like DOT funding to states being withheld if they don't meet certain federal conditions?


P.49: Congress may attach appropriate conditions to federal taxing andspending programs to preserve its control over the use of federal funds.

P.50: Conditions that do not here govern the use of the funds, however, cannot be justified on that basis. When, for example, such conditions take the form of threats to terminate other significant independent grants, the conditions are properly viewed as a means of pressuring the States to accept policy changes.

As usual, the answer is depends. Certainly is a limit on Congressional power.
   473. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:34 AM (#4168511)
1. The day David appeals to populism is upon us! Beauty.
Appealed to populism for the purpose of evaluating something's popularity? No, I think I was always on board with that.
2. The ACA is not "unpopular" in the manner you wish to portray it as being, here.
It's unpopular in the sense of not being popular. There is no relevant "manner." I know the left takes the positions that

(a) Some of its unpopularity comes from the left, so that doesn't count; and
(b) People really support it but are too dumb to know it, because they support its provisions.

As to the first, so what? Regardless of why someone wants it repealed, if it's repealed there won't be a backlash from them. As to the second, even if that logic were valid, so what? They don't support it, so there won't be a backlash from them.
   474. Gonfalon B. Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:35 AM (#4168515)
The ruling is simple: Congress can expand Medicaid and condition additional federal Medicaid funding to the states on their participation in that expansion; it can't condition all preexisting federal Medicaid funding to the states on their participation in that expansion. That superficially sounds like splitting the baby, but is actually a complete defeat for the administration on that issue.

Everyone on both sides understood that this was as likely to happen as Donald Trump and Rosie O'Donnell sharing a romantic private cruise. If Obama suffers another defeat this complete in November, Mitt Romney will be very available for speaking engagements.
   475. aleskel Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:35 AM (#4168516)
Conditions that do not here govern the use of the funds, however, cannot be justified on that basis. When, for example, such conditions take the form of threats to terminate other significant independent grants, the conditions are properly viewed as a means of pressuring the States to accept policy changes.

Sounds like an "essential nexus" argument to me. Interesting.
   476. Der-K: Hipster doofus Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:36 AM (#4168518)
I'm not knowledgable here: is it believed w/in the industry that the MLR piece has teeth as more than a boundary to not be crossed? From my perspective, that's nothing more than paperwork as this time.

To be clear, my rates in the Brave New World will be higher than they are in the present day. I can afford it and I believe in universal coverage ... but not everyone will react as I do.

In the long run - and I don't know when the long run starts (pipe down, JMK) - I think that this program or something like it will be popular - moreso, that people will wonder why we didn't have something in its place sooner.
   477. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:36 AM (#4168519)
Ray (or David, or any anti-ACA folks really): How does today's ruling make you *rethink your own assumptions about the law, the Constitution or the public good?


I have to read it first. I am pleased (based solely on media reports) that the commerce clause argument doesn't appear to have entered into the majority's reasoning. Even as someone who opposes ACA, the idea that Pols. running in November can 'fix' this, uh, I just don't see it that way, certainly not for Romney. This will garner lots of attention (as it should) and so forth for the next week or so, but at some point it will all return to jobs, growth, lack of growth, etc.
   478. zonk Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:36 AM (#4168520)
I will say this -

There are many on the left who are as upset by those on the right -- thinking a PPACA strikedown would have meant a clear Democratic no-choice-but supporting single payer/medicare expansion/etc.

For those who claim to be moderate, this decision ought to be hailed. It incorporates a mix of traditionally right-leaning and traditionally left-leaning philosophies (I don't want to rehash the whole Heritage debate... but the fact is, no one is clamoring to repeal EMTALA. It's always been that no one wants to pay for it - except in "hidden" ways like Medicare charity care provisions).

There's nothing radically right or left about this plan - it's a fairly moderate and even-keeled approach... doesn't mean it will work as policy, of course.
   479. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:38 AM (#4168521)
I don't believe in states' rights (people have rights, not state or federal governments), but it's perfectly consistent for a conservative, presumably believing in states' rights, to be in favor of a program at the state level and against that exact same program at the federal level.

The number of "conservatives" who are consistently in favor of states rights- meaning in favor of states rights when:

a: The state passes a law the conservatives like;
b: the state passes a law the conservatives do not like;
c: the Feds pass a law the conservatives like; and
d: the Feds pass a law the conservatives do not like

is vanishingly small.



   480. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:38 AM (#4168522)
Are there other examples of "taxes" that function the way they are fitting this under Congress's taxing authority? In other words, a "tax" that is what we would normally think of as a "fine" or "penalty" and not tied back, somehow or other, specifically to an individual's income? Is a tax versus a financial penalty a distinction without a difference in legal/legislative terms?


There are many federal taxes that are not income taxes. For example, the ACA also has a tax on tanning beds to help raise revenues.

If you are asking if there are Congressional taxes that are more punitive than revenue-raising, what about protectionist trade tariffs?
   481. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:38 AM (#4168523)
I don't believe in states' rights (people have rights, not state or federal governments), but it's perfectly consistent for a conservative, presumably believing in states' rights, to be in favor of a program at the state level and against that exact same program at the federal level.
Dan, federalism and "state's rights" are not the same thing, even if they can end up in the same place much of the time. "State's rights," as you note, takes the position that states actually have certain rights, that it violates those rights for the federal government to be involved. Federalism can be a constitutional argument -- that the document divides power between the different levels, and the constitution ought to be respected regardless of policy preferences -- or it can be a pragmatic argument -- that liberty is enhanced by devolving power to lower levels of government. (Or the "laboratories of democracy" argument, for that matter.)
   482. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:40 AM (#4168525)
Overturning an unpopular law would provoke a backlash?

1. The day David appeals to populism is upon us! Beauty.


He was answering a question, not appealing to populism. Not that I understand what a "backlash" is, or why Roberts would be concerned about that or allow it to affect his vote.

2. The ACA is not "unpopular" in the manner you wish to portray it as being, here.


It is unpopular. Most conservatives/republicans/libertarians/"teapers" (to use JPFW's favorite term) dislike it, and that makes up a large percentage of the populus.
   483. Craig in MN Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:41 AM (#4168526)
I simply said that Democrats who have whined about the "needs 60 votes to pass anything" line would suddenly discover that this is a good thing.


The Supreme Court says its a tax.....the filibuster doesn't really apply to tax issues....all it takes is 51 votes (and the house and president of course) to take out almost all of the law. The Democrats needed 60 because they needed the non-financial issues as well (or thought they did). I think Republicans would be fine with repealing everything that effected government revenues and expenditures and cleaning up the unmanageable carnage after the fact.
   484. Lassus Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:43 AM (#4168529)
It's unpopular in the sense of not being popular.

- raises eyebrow -


It is unpopular. Most conservatives/republicans/libertarians/"teapers" (to use JPFW's favorite term) dislike it, and that makes up a large percentage of the populus.

This is a far better answer. I do think "most" is a debatable, though, less in numbers than in commitment. While the complaints about it have been very loud and shrill, I don't think it's something that much of the bell-curve of the right is going to choose to fight stick their flag into and fight to the metaphorical death over. YMMV, of course.
   485. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:45 AM (#4168531)
Because your opinion and his opinion on the matter would each be based on legal study and theory; and you might think that he has enough more than you that you might consider his opinion worth considering?


DMN specifically mentioned "public good"

I think that if you think the ACA is bad policy you would still think it is a bad policy even if you change your mind and agree with Roberts that it is constitutional under the taxing power.

For example, I've come around to believe that District of Columbia v. Heller was correctly decided, my opinion over whether or not striking down DC's gun laws constitutes good policy has not really changed however.
   486. Dan Szymborski Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:46 AM (#4168532)
Absolutely right. But what I think has been overlooked is that the ACA was in large part a mandate on the states - either come up with your own plan and receive the waiver (like Massachusetts), or go with the ACA.


Yeah, but that's a little like saying "You have the right to choose your lunch, so long as it's ham or peanut butter and jelly." Again, I don't believe in states' rights.

I expected this, I had a nice haul on Intrade at the ridiculous percentages on the case the last few days. Roberts isn't a firebrand generally - ruling that a de facto tax is a de jure tax isn't exactly the direst threat to liberty when you compared it to accepting the government's view that it has the right to ban books that contain political speech, as was argued in Citizens United.
   487. zonk Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:48 AM (#4168535)
I'm not knowledgable here: is it believed w/in the industry that the MLR piece has teeth as more than a boundary to not be crossed? From my perspective, that's nothing more than paperwork as this time.


I'm fairly sure a number of insurers have already announced rebates to participants, pending the outcome of the SCOTUS decision. In a bit of a eye-opener for some of the most virulent anti-private insurance elements on the left, the numbers are actually showing that most insurers are already at or near the statutory limits on MLR (80 to 85% depending on plan size, I believe) -- but it seems pretty ironclad.

   488. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:49 AM (#4168536)
I have to read it first. I am pleased (based solely on media reports) that the commerce clause argument doesn't appear to have entered into the majority's reasoning.


Yes, that would have been an unmitigated disaster. At least this is a mitigated one.

I don't think even most liberals truly believed this was constitutional under the commerce clause.

And people from all sides should have been worried as to the unlimited power Congress would have if the commerce clause argument had not been denied. I'm sure unlimited powers would seem all peachy to liberals and socialists now, but when the power changes hands they might not feel that way.

   489. Langer Monk Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:49 AM (#4168537)
Sounds like an "essential nexus" argument to me. Interesting.


To follow up, as I've now finished Roberts' opinion..

P 58: Congress has no authority to order the States to regulate according to its instructions. Congress may offer the States grants and require the States to comply with accompanying conditions, but the States must have a genuine choice whether to accept the offer.
   490. JuanGone..except1game Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:50 AM (#4168539)
It's unpopular in the sense of not being popular. There is no relevant "manner."


It is relevant in the context that one of the Right's main arguments against it is that "the people" see it as excessive government interference. The fact that about 15% want more government interference by the way of single payer (or other more liberal govt supported healthcare plan) is extremely relevant.
   491. Dan Szymborski Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:50 AM (#4168540)
Dan, federalism and "state's rights" are not the same thing, even if they can end up in the same place much of the time.

Sorry, sloppy wording - I'm only a baseball writer who grew up in a family of lawyers, after all. I don't think it's inconsistent, though it's probably a tricky position to argue to the masses on both sides, who mostly only care about the balance of federal and state law to the extent that it affects what they want.
   492. zonk Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:51 AM (#4168542)
It is unpopular. Most conservatives/republicans/libertarians/"teapers" (to use JPFW's favorite term) dislike it, and that makes up a large percentage of the populus.


Sure - a large percentage of people will be voting against Obama and every Democrat this fall. By this metric, everything and everyone is unpopular.
   493. Der-K: Hipster doofus Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:51 AM (#4168543)
487: Thanks.
   494. Dan Szymborski Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:51 AM (#4168544)
The fact that about 15% want more government interference by the way of single payer (or other more liberal govt supported healthcare plan) is extremely relevant.

But that's not exactly atypical - only extremely left-wing and extremely right-wing opinions don't have daylight on both their sides.
   495. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:53 AM (#4168546)
It's unpopular in the sense of not being popular.

- raises eyebrow -
David is entirely correct. Obamacare polls somewhere between 40 and 50% support. Even if you give the most generous reading of opposition from the left, the best you can spin it to is 55ish percent support. That's not popular in any meaningful sense. It certainly isn't popular enough that one could reasonably expect a "backlash" to a Supreme Court decision invalidating the law.

There is a prospective case to be made that Obamacare will become popular, but it isn't popular right now.
   496. Dan Szymborski Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:55 AM (#4168549)
Even if you give the most generous reading of opposition from the left, the best you can spin it to is 55ish percent support.

Well, most generous *reasonable* reading. I expect you could get approval anywhere from 20-80% or so if you get really creative with the wording. I'm generally not a fan of polling when the questions leave so much difference of opinion.
   497. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:56 AM (#4168550)
I don't think even most liberals truly believed this was constitutional under the commerce clause.
For Esoteric and Good Face and everyone arguing that liberals live in a bubble like this, and conservatives like in the expansive world of reality like this, I give you Ray DiPerna.

David, can you please dissuade Ray of this insane claim? The scholarship on the Commerce Clause from left and center-left judicial scholars is wide-ranging and extremely clear on this. Of course this is what liberals think the Commerce Clause does. There were four votes (the four center left votes) for a Commerce Clause based upholding of the law. WTF?
   498. Lassus Posted: June 28, 2012 at 11:56 AM (#4168552)
Romney reaction on right now. Seems he's going to be running on this as his flagship issue, almost?

EDIT: Over now. I'm probably wrong, then, I expected a way longer speech.


It's unpopular in the sense of not being popular.
- raises eyebrow -
David is entirely correct.


I wasn't taking issue with his conclusion as much as his wording, which I found a little amusing. I'm sure that wasn't clear.
   499. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 28, 2012 at 12:00 PM (#4168555)
Romney doesn't want this campaign to be about health care. As a political issue, it's ~50/50, and there's no good way for him to spin Romneycare.

Luckily for Romney, the economy is weak enough that he won't need to find a different flagship issue.
   500. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: June 28, 2012 at 12:00 PM (#4168556)
Now, people are going to continue to see the actual impacts on their lives - and for most folks, the impact will be negligible. For many, the changes -- elimination of pre-existing condition discrimination, limitations on other discriminatory practices for rate hikes, etc -- will be popular. For those who start getting checks back from their insurers when the MLR ratios aren't met - it will also be popular. For some -- mainly those in the sour spot where the subsidies phase into penalties for those in the individual market (and those who don't try the state exchanges), it will be unpopular. However, I think that number will be fewer than those hit by the AMT.
And for all the people who lose their insurance because (a) the employer mandates are more expensive than the employer penalties, or (b) it's banned by the regulations against real health insurance -- that is, high deductible insurance which covers catastrophic care -- it will be unpopular.
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