Hero of the Week Award: June 29, U.S. Supreme Court Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Roberts, Sotomayor, and Kagan

29 Jun

Hero of the Week

This week we celebrate an enormous, surprising decision. With a 5-4 majority, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the main components of the Affordable Care Act. Significantly, they found the individual mandate, bete noir of the Radical Right, to be a reasonable congressional act under the authority to tax. Given the court’s rightward tilt of late, America was stunned. We’re pretty shocked here at TSM, too. Awarding a majority SCOTUS opinion the HWA is not anything we thought would happen any time soon.

This is a major victory not just for President Obama and the Democrats who worked so hard to pass even a mediocre health care bill. It is a victory for all Americans. The ACA, however flawed, is a significant step toward real care for all Americans. Without it, the poorest and the disenfranchised would continue to suffer, sicken, and die. Disproportionate impacts would be felt along racial, gender, and class lines, making it harderย  and harder for those with the least to ever succeed. This Constitutionally sound victory — complete with a cease-and-desist order on the current challenges to the ACA — should let us move forward as a nation. We’ll see how the Republicans in Congress (John Boehner was crying so hard he called off his press conference!) try to cock it all up.

It’s fun to speculate why Chief Justice Roberts joined the more liberal justices in this opinion, just as it is important to note that Justice Kennedy has put the final nail in the coffin of his “swing vote” status. Roberts’ reasons don’t really matter, however: he did the right thing. We all owe these five Justices a debt of thanks this week. (For a great guide to the legal aspects of the decision in straightforward layman’s language, the ever excellent Ari Ezra Waldman has an analysis here.)

11 Responses to “Hero of the Week Award: June 29, U.S. Supreme Court Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Roberts, Sotomayor, and Kagan”

  1. prideinmadness June 29, 2012 at 6:29 am #

    I promise you that affordable healthcare is awesome! Don’t believe the silly lies! ๐Ÿ˜›

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt June 29, 2012 at 6:35 am #

      It seems like common sense, doesn’t it?

      • prideinmadness June 29, 2012 at 6:43 am #

        Up in Canada it does! Make sure to remind those Republicans that it’s WAY more socialist up here! They are only proving that they are stupid thinking that moving up here they can escape affordable healthcare ๐Ÿ˜›

        Abortion is actually funded by the provinces/territories (if you are a citizen but access is still an issue) and EVERY province and territory has legal same-sex marriage! Those two points are not even debatable to remove as rights. They’re in to stay!

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt June 29, 2012 at 6:48 am #

        No one said that Republicans were smart! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • prideinmadness June 29, 2012 at 7:51 am #

        I know but they think they are :p

  2. Christine Noble June 29, 2012 at 8:27 am #

    Well, the former poli sci student who had to read The Prince, 8 million times is suspicious. The former intro to law tutor however believes he was just practicing proper judicial restraint, maybe motivated by the fact that Scalia held up a mirror to just exactly the kind of Court they might be building if he did not.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt June 29, 2012 at 8:34 am #

      I am exceedingly suspicious of our Roberts. My hope is that he does not want to leave a legacy that has one of the worst Supreme Courts in history that he played a part in, but my fear is that the way he crafted his ruling opinion was a door for talking points for the right wing. If his vote was for more noble purposes, then he has a lot of back pedaling to do for the past 3 years.

  3. Jay June 29, 2012 at 9:59 am #

    I’m a firm believer that the best answer to the question “why did a Supreme Court justice rule the way he/she did?” is to read the opinion they joined, or better yet, wrote. Trying to divine deeper motivations makes fun sport for some, but I find it quite annoying.

    Why does anybody REALLY do anything? On some level that is always unanswerable. At least with a Supreme Court opinion you have multiple pages of legal reasoning–that’s one hell of a lot more of an answer to “But WHY???” than you’ll find in virtually any sphere of human activity outside of a Dostoyevsky novel.

    And while Kennedy has been ruling with the conservative faction more and more of late, don’t forget that he wrote the majority opinion in Lawrence v Texas–quite possibly the most important decision in favor of gay rights in American legal history. I retain some hope that Kennedy will again side with the liberal faction in certain specific, and important, areas of the law.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt June 29, 2012 at 11:25 am #

      I actually enjoy a Dostoyevsky novel, perhaps this makes me a masochist. While I agree and appreciate Kennedy’s impact in 2003, I’m afraid I’m left with “What have you done for me lately?” Since Lawrence v. Texas, Kennedy has not been a swing vote.

      • Jay June 29, 2012 at 9:44 pm #

        I enjoy Dostoyevsky too. Among other things, he’s quite an amazing psychological realist, and excels at depicting human behavior and motivations, so my citing him as a deep source for “why do people behave the way they do?” was sincere, not sarcastic.

        I was a little cranky and irritable when I made my original comment.

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt June 30, 2012 at 7:30 am #

        I get cranky a lot regarding the human condition. As I have said before, it is always imperative to look for and listen to the counter narrative from which emerges growth.

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