Home / General / ACA Oral Arguments: Day 1 Recap

ACA Oral Arguments: Day 1 Recap


Since I was skeptical about whether the Court was seriously considering using a jurisdictional ruling to dodge the constitutional issue ex ante, the oral arguments yesterday certainly did nothing to dissuade me.

Looking around, this seems to be the consensus. Had a lower court not bought the anti-injunction argument, I doubt the Court would have even asked for the question to be briefed.

Looking forward to tomorrow, Sarah Kliff’s primer is very useful.

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  • Sherm

    The New York Law Journal headline writers agree — “Justices Signal Intent to Reach Merits of Health Care Law.”

  • catclub

    It seems to me that both sides are willing to ignore actual law, because both sides find it convenient to do so. It still strikes me that the law does apply. When the question came up: if you do not have mandated insurance have you violated federal law – the answer was – not if you have paid the tax penalty. They put a whole lot more weight on the fact that it is a tax _PENALTY_ than I think it merits.

    It looks very very much like a tax. Which is administered by the IRS.

  • c u n d gulag

    Whatever the decision they reach this week, rest assured that the Conservative “Gang of Five” will leave enough wiggle room in it for R’s to continue to be able to use ACA against the Democrats in this year’s elections, and 2014, and maybe 2016 – and beyond.

    And, as Charles Pierce wrote the other day, now that a religion element has been, rather brilliantly, added to this most secular of laws, we will never hear the end of it.
    Because Jesus, I guess, would not have wanted preexisting conditions covered, or people under 26, who can’t afford their own health care policies to be covered under their parents plan. ‘Cause in their minds, Christ was just as big a dick as they are.
    So – NO health care for you!
    Because Religious Freedom and LIBERTY! So shut up, THAT’S why!!!

    The Conservatives will work like hell to make any decision reached on ACA into ‘Roe v. Wade II,’ so they can continue to use it as a wedge issue to milk the religious rubes for support and votes – and for fun and profit!

    And that, now, is truly, The American Way!

    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      What’s wrong with letting Republicans “use ACA against the Democrats in this year’s elections, and 2014, and maybe 2016 — and beyond”?

      This is a political issue and there’s nothing wrong with that. Indeed, the desperate attempt by conservatives to gin up a constitutional issue here reflects their fears that, over time, the political issue will stop playing so well for them as the various provisions of the ACA start to kick in.

      Now if the Democrats would only embrace this fact and start running on the ACA rather than foolishly (and fruitlessly) attempting to run away from it.

      • c u n d gulag

        Obama and the Democrats stupidly let the Conservatives frame ACA in ’09 and ’10, with the help of the MSM, so most people in this stupid f’in country have no idea wtf ACA is all about – except that they’ve been told repeatedly that it’s bad by their ‘trusted sources’ on talk radio, MOX and other TV news, Op-ed pages, and e-mails from their friends, family members, and co-workers.

        Now, add religion to that mix, and you have the typical toxic brew that Conservatives love to use to rile-up the reactionary religious rubes, and confuse the issue for just enough ignorant people, to continue to win elections.

        In a rational f’in country, having affordable health care for everyone wouldn’t be objected to by anyone except the small cadre of crazies who appear in the local parks with their soapboxes and megaphones, who feel it’s imperative to tell everyone what the voices in their heads are screaming at them about.
        But we don’t live in a rational f’in country, now do we?

        • …most people in this stupid f’in country have no idea wtf ACA is all about…

          Many (most?) of whom are the ones that want to “get government out of mah Medicare!”, so the good ship ‘UUS Rational Debate’ has long since sailed.

          • c u n d gulag


          • BigHank53

            the good ship ‘UUS Rational Debate’

            Oh, the Unitarian Universalists finally got their navy! Good job!

            • steelpenny

              This is really just full of win.

        • Incontinentia Buttocks

          Obama and the Democrats stupidly let the Conservatives frame ACA in ’09 and ’10

          This is really the bottom line.

          Politics is political. And politicians have to be willing to sell their policies politically.

          Time and time again, the Democrats simply refuse to do this, wether out of a distaste for politics, a belief in a kind of Bizarro World version of the Green Lantern Theory, under which nothing politicians say can have any effect whatsoever on public opinion, or some combination of the two.

          The result in this case, as you say, is that the GOP got to define the ACA.

          Here’s the thing, though: that’s water under the bridge. And Democrats and other supporters of the ACA will still better served by their focusing on (re-)defining the ACA politically, rather than complaining, yet again, that they are shocked, shocked and surprised, at politics going on their blessed democratic republic.

          • c u n d gulag

            I agree that D’s should be running ON ACA, and not trying to avoid the subject, or be running away from it – like they did in 2010.
            The next 7+ months should be seen as an opportunity to explain, and thus re-frame it.
            And, though polls show that more people are supporting ACA, they see that over 50% still don’t. And that scares them.

            And besides, D’s are terrible at framing issues.
            Really terrible, and have been for decades.

            Democrats tend to appeal to logic, and the mind.

            Republicans go right for fear, and the heart.

            • Richard

              Except that, after today’s argument, I think its more likely than not that the law will be struck down. I hope I’m around but it looks like Scalia, Thomas, and Alito are definitely votes to overthrow and that Roberts and Kennedy have not been persuaded that there are any limits to congressional power if the law is upheld. (The govt tried to argue that medical care is different than other programs but Kennedy didn’t seem to buy it). And if the law is overturned, does it make sense to campaign on it? I don’t see the logic there.

              • Richard

                Meant to say “I hope I’m wrong”

              • rea

                You’re following Tobin’s paniced report, but the Wall Street Journal’s liveblogging of the argument makes it sound like Kennedy and Roberts weren’t real supportive of the antis in their questioning, either.

                • Richard

                  Actually I haven’t read Toobin yet. I read several reports, MSNBC and others, and read the transcript of the argument which is now available online. Then again, questions don’t necessarily determine results but there was nothing encouraging about the argument today.

              • Ed

                Interesting quote from Dellinger via TPM:


                ‘“The court,” he said, “understood that the alternatives being offered by the challengers were really not workable,” and that the most likely policy option if the mandate is struck is a more public system like single payer.

                “I don’t think either the Chief Justice or Justice Kennedy thinks that’s a good option,” Dellinger said.’

                Which seems to suggest that Kennedy a/o Roberts would uphold in order to protect the nation from….single payer.

                • Incontinentia Buttocks

                  How could we possible end up with single payer, which would never get through even a Democratic-controlled House, let alone the Senate.

                  I suppose someone who believes that the ACA is socialism might also believe that single payer is right around the corner.

                  But as far as I can tell, the likely outcome of an overturned ACA is that the can will be kicked down the road for another generation or two, meanwhile the status quo ante will continue. But since only the healthcare of the 99% will be affected, most of the people actually making any decisions about the matter won’t give a damn.

            • Davis X. Machina

              .,,running away from it – like they did in 2010.

              They were running away from it in both directions.

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