Two columns at the Times engage in a bit of hand-wringing about Obama's healthcare "victory".
In Obama’s Victory, a Loss for Congress
With the landmark Supreme Court ruling on Thursday, conservatives and libertarians lost their legal battle to overturn the Obama administration’s signature health care legislation. But they may have won a bigger war.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. ruled that the health care legislation passed constitutional muster, but only under Congress’s broad power to tax. He rejected the widely held expansive view of the commerce clause of the United States Constitution, ruling that it doesn’t give Congress the power to make people buy health insurance — or, for that matter, healthy green vegetables like broccoli.
“Under the government’s theory, Congress could address the diet problem by ordering everyone to buy vegetables,” the chief justice wrote. “That is not the country the framers of our Constitution envisioned.”
Libertarians declared victory. “We finally won a three-decades-long battle over the commerce clause,” John Eastman, a conservative constitutional scholar and a professor at Chapman University, told me hours after the court’s decision.
A Pyrrhic Victory
THE obvious victor in the Supreme Court’s health care decision was President Obama, who risked vast amounts of political capital to pass the Affordable Care Act. A somewhat more subtle victor, but equally important, was the rule of law more generally: in an era when so many people on the left and right view the justices, and constitutional questions, through the prism of politics, the court today made clear that law matters and that it isn’t just politics by other means.
But there was a subtle loser too, and that is the federal government. By opening new avenues for the courts to rewrite the law, the federal government may have won the battle but lost the war.
The former Solicitor General and Gore advisor concludes with this punchline:
Time will tell whether today’s decision foreshadows things to come. But one thing is apparent: Americans are growing increasingly comfortable, if not always happy, with the idea of nine men and women in Washington handing down rulings that remove decisions from the legislative process or even rewrite legislation altogether.
Uh huh. And when those decisions relate to gay marriage or abortion, they are met with 'huzzas' from the left.