The right-wing United State Supreme Court justices will strike down as much of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) as their handlers tell them to. Those handlers are a number of Fortune 500 companies and the American Legislative Exchange council. H.R. 3590 is known to the right-wing by the supposedly offensive title of ‘Obamacare’. I prefer Obamacare. I don’t find it offensive in the least. It was President Barack Obama who led the charge to cobble together a health care plan that would be of the most benefit to the most people. In large measure he succeeded in spite of real-world concessions that had to be made to insurance companies and the giant pharmaceuticals. The jettisoning of the public option was ill- advised though it could be revived later. In the main Obama and the democrats put together the best legislation they could under the circumstances.
ACA, a product of the 111th congress, was signed into law by the president March 23, 2010, roughly seven months before the most radical class of congressional newcomers in modern history managed to capture the House of Representatives. That 63-seat gain of corporate-owned right-wing extremists has thrown government into a destructive and obstructive tizzy from which it may never recover. All credit goes to the Supreme Court Citizen’s United decision that overrode 2 previous high-court rulings in giving Corporations and Unions carte blanche to spend whatever amount they wished to buy whatever office the corporate oligarchy desired. Throwing unions a bone was designed to give the decision a shred of bi-partisan credibility. It was a completely safe inclusion for the power structure insofar as the union movement was on life support and could not hope to compete with the unending and in large measure untaxed corporate billions.
It’s apparently irrelevant that one of the justice’s wives was the founder of a wing-nut, Tea Party clone called ‘Liberty Central’. Virginia ‘Ginni’ Thomas is married to Clarence Thomas of Anita Hill, pubic hair, can’a coke fame (or infamy). Liberty Central’s main goal was to get right-wingers elected who opposed Obamacare. Conflict of interest recusal grounds for Clarence? Not in 2012 right-wing America. ‘Ginni’ has reportedly abandoned the organization after it was found that her husband repeatedly lied about $1.6 million in financial and gift benefits she derived from being Liberty Central’s head. Impeach Clarence for lying under oath? Not in 2012 right-wing America.
On the plus side, Common Cause has filed an IRS complaint against Liberty Central for claiming 501 (c)(4) tax-exempt status while insisting political activity was not its primary focus.
Thomas and other right-wing justices have been featured guests and speakers before numerous far-right think-tanks, ‘institutes’ and conservative organizations, sprinkling their judicial fairy dust o’er an adoring and appreciative crowd. The conservative wing of this Supreme Court serves as hired gun for any legislation the power boys want killed or distorted beyond recognition. To suggest that these court guest speakers don’t exchange cell-phone numbers and email addresses with the corporate leaders in attendance would be incredibly naïve.
You might ask, “why are these health care corporations whose industry earns more than any other and who run U.S. medicine from their tax-evading havens, so obsessed with destroying Obamacare?” Simple! They don’t want to cover pre-existing conditions. They want annual and lifetime limits placed on coverage of those suffering from truly serious maladies. They don’t want 26-year-olds on their parent’s insurance. They sure as hell don’t want the precious donut hole closed as is slowly happening now with ACA at a savings of over $2 billion for senior citizens and they don’t want ANY restrictions on premiums. The threat of a public option brings insurance giants to near apoplexy. This is a trillion dollar party and no president with a Kenyan father and white mother is going to crash it. “CALL THE SUPREMES.”
The stakes couldn’t be higher. And the core of the decision is pegged on the so-called ‘commerce clause’ or, according to the government attorney, the method of purchasing health insurance. This was the entry point for the absurd and totally irrelevant opposition argument that the government could force people to buy ‘broccoli’.
Let it be known that constitutional subtleties and interpretations are far beyond the general public’s legal knowledge, especially those poor misguided souls who think a Tea Party course in the constitution gives them even an ounce of expertise. It doesn’t. One true expert is the guy in the White House. My guess is that, as a professor of Constitutional Law at the prestigious University of Chicago, he knows at least as much and likely more about the issue than 5 of the sitting justices. I also suspect that there were many administration hours given over to studying the efficacy and legality of all sections of ‘Obamacare’. If it passed Obama muster, I submit that it’s legal.
The decision will be political. On paper, the implications of the remolding of the commerce clause are huge. My guess is, the mandate (a staple of health care in foreign industrialized nations) will be sent packing. That could jeopardize the entire plan; Scalia has already said he to wants to kill the whole of ACA. That’s the answer to state’s rights, dominionists prayers until they actually read the bill, then they want to keep it.
Most pundits feel that Anthony Kennedy may be the swing vote on the question. The Senate unanimously chose Reagan appointment Kennedy as being far preferable to certified nut job, Robert Bork. Kennedy is a Republican but is unpredictable. He’s come down on both sides of decisions involving gay rights. He doesn’t give a damn about the environment and generally kisses the NRA’s ass of course, but he’s voted with liberal justices in a capital punishment case.
Sending a shutter through the Tea Party crowd, Kennedy also seems a reluctant supporter of abortion rights.
For the red states terrified of the prospect that lifesaving health care legislation will be ‘forced’ upon the local population, may I remind you that in that colonial era right-wingers so lovingly embrace, the sovereign ‘states’, like some Kid’s Choice Award winners were completely slimed in state’s rights. Each successor state ran its own show. James Madison was one of the first to realize these ‘rights’ were a collective disaster. The enabling Articles of Confederation were replaced by The Constitution! A Constitution that locked in actual fed power over states incapable of running their own affairs without a modicum of federal direction and assistance.
I agree with the Tea Party. I love the Constitution, which is why we need the ACA.
Photo Credit: Jim Feig