It’s gotta be a great time to be in D.C. this week. The atmosphere – at least from what I can tell based on the photos moving across the Associated Press wire service – looks almost festive. It was even enough to draw that party animal of a GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum for a while.
But as we’re all painfully aware, there's a lot more at stake than a stump speech or photo op. And while we’ll find out in June—at the latest—how the Court rules on this little piece of history, the larger ramifications won’t be felt until November when we return to the polls to elect our next president.
Now, I know there are probably dozens of people smarter than me pontificating about this already, but it can’t hurt to throw my two cents in, right?
The way I see it, there are two likely scenarios:
Let’s start with the most likely: Come June 1, the court will rule to uphold the law, life will go on as it has over the last two years, and the Republicans will use this as a rallying cry all the way to the polls. How that turns out remains to be seen, but if gas prices keep climbing, it could very well mean much more than any single court decision.
Then there’s the alternative, where the Court strikes down the law, and the Republicans trumpet this colossal failure of this president's single greatest legislative accomplishment all the way to the polls.
I know a lot of people are looking at the justices and the grilling they are giving the lawyers, thinking this thing is doomed, but nothing could be further from the truth—or as unreliable as a judicial barometer. These Supreme Court justices are a cantankerous, hard-to-please bunch, and it’s their job to tear apart arguments as if they were hastily written college theses.
History offers a far more accurate gauge of what to expect from the court—which show the past greater respect than either of our other branches of government. And the Supreme Court hasn’t overturned a piece of legislation this big in nearly 80 years, so don’t get your hopes up.
And you didn’t hear it from me, but I think we’re stuck with high health care costs, a shrinking pool of doctors and state exchanges no matter what, but that’s another story…