LIVE BLOG: Obamacare Day At The Supreme Court

UPDATE, 2:05 PM – And now for a brief statement from Nancy Pelosi…

UPDATE, 1:47 PM – The major criticism of Roberts’ decision is beginning to take shape not as a policy disaster but as something else. Specifically, the concept that reinterpreting Obamacare as a tax is stretching the law beyond its pages.

The National Review editors

The dissent acknowledges that if an ambiguous law can be read in a way that renders it constitutional, it should be. It distinguishes, though, between construing a law charitably and rewriting it. The latter is what Chief Justice John Roberts has done. If Roberts believes that this tactic avoids damage to the Constitution because it does not stretch the Commerce Clause to justify a mandate, he is mistaken. The Constitution does not give the Court the power to rewrite statutes, and Roberts and his colleagues have therefore done violence to it. If the law has been rendered less constitutionally obnoxious, the Court has rendered itself more so. Chief Justice Roberts cannot justly take pride in this legacy.

And from the dissent itself

Justice Anthony Kennedy and three conservative justices denounced the majority opinion declaring the individual mandate as a tax, authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, as an effective rewrite of the Obamacare legislation that accepted “feeble” arguments from President Obama’s attorneys.

“[T]o say that the Individual Mandate merely imposes a tax is not to interpret the statute but to rewrite it,” the dissenters — Justices Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and Kennedy — wrote, adding that “legislators must weigh the need for the tax against the terrible price they might pay at their next election.” He then suggested that Congress intentionally avoided passing the mandate as a tax in an effort to avoid that election disaster. “We have no doubt that Congress knew precisely what it was doing when it rejected an earlier version of this legislation that imposed a tax instead of a requirement-with-penalty.”

Roberts conceded the point that the mandate was not obviously written as a tax. “The most straightforward reading of the mandate is that it commands individuals to purchase insurance,” Roberts wrote, but he added that the mandate “can be read” as a tax. “Our precedent demonstrates that Congress had the power to impose the exaction in Section 5000A, and that 5000A need not be read to do more than impose a tax.”

Read more:

UPDATE, 1:23 PMJ. Christian Adams’ take at Pajamas Media on John Roberts and his reclassification of Obamacare as a tax…

Understand that the decision to characterize the law as a tax (even though the Justice Department made the opposite argument) is not entirely outlandish. Courts have an obligation to presume statutes are constitutional. Roberts particularly hails from that jurisprudential pedigree, as opposed to someone like Justice Thomas or Scalia.

There are conservatives like Roberts obsessed with reining in courts, largely from their Roe v Wade shell shock and other 1970s opinions. Conservatives like Scalia and Thomas are more interested in enforcing constitutional limits to protect liberty.

When you hear Republican politicians warn about “legislating from the bench,” they are using rhetoric from two decades ago when courts advanced a leftist agenda in the absence of legislative activity. The term today is as archaic as parachute pants and AMC Gremlins. These days, legislatures are passing leftist legislation that exercises unconstitutional power. In that circumstance, it is up to the courts to defend the Constitution. Today, the Court flinched from that obligation, in part because of decades of conservatives repeating the empty and now obsolete admonition against “legislating from the bench.”

UPDATE, 1:17 PM – Jeff Landry weighs in…

“This is a tragic day for America as the Supreme Court ruled there is no limit to the federal government’s overreach. Today’s ruling moves America further down the path of socialism. It increases taxes on low and middle class Americans and keeps the anti-religious freedom HHS mandate intact.

Obamacare became law because longtime Washington politicians were not brave enough to offer common-sense solutions to make health care more accessible and affordable when they were in charge. If they had fixed the problem, there would have been no room for Obamacare in the first place.

Today’s ruling highlights that we cannot and should not rely on the Supreme Court to clean up Congress’s mess. We need people in Congress who have the strength and courage to put patients and families in charge, not the government or insurance companies. My job is to return Washington to the people and that includes putting We the People in charge of our own healthcare.

I will continue to work for Obamacare’s full repeal and offer real solutions like purchasing insurance across state lines, allowing small businesses to pool their employees together, and rewarding people who make healthy lifestyle choices. And I call on all Americans who disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision to become more engaged and involved; together, we can repeal and replace Obamacare and those who passed it.”

UPDATE, 1:06 PM – Romney’s camp say they’ve raised over $1 million in four hours.

Meanwhile, the RNC has just popped out a web ad on the Obamacare decision…

UPDATE, 12:30 PMRemember how we noted that this Louisiana Budget Project gang was a bunch of Hard Left types? And how we noted that they’re paid-for Soros stooges?

They didn’t like that much.

Well, here they are, in their own words. Think they’re centrist?

Today the Supreme Court’s decision affirmed that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional. This is a historic moment for working families and small businesses nationwide and in Louisiana.

Nearly one in four adults under age 65 in Louisiana is currently uninsured. Beginning in 2014, uninsured Louisianans will benefit significantly from an expansion in Medicaid and the creation of a health insurance exchange, which will also help make insurance more affordable for families and small businesses. As many as half a million Louisianans could gain health insurance, many for the first time.

“The Medicaid expansion is especially important for the ‘working poor,’ who currently have jobs that offer either unaffordable insurance or none at all,” said Jan Moller, Director of the Louisiana Budget Project. “Expanding Medicaid will ensure that low-income families will no longer have to put off seeking needed medical care or risk financial ruin if they get sick.”

Additionally, the federal government will pay nearly all of the cost of the Medicaid expansion, which means federal money for the state budget and more health care jobs for Louisiana.

For those who are currently insured, reform includes new consumer protections and benefits for everyone. Importantly, the law finally guarantees access to affordable insurance for the tens of thousands of people in our state who currently are denied coverage due to a “pre-existing condition.”

“With this decision, the Affordable Care Act is unambiguously the law of the land,” said Moller. “Now is the time for Louisianans to come together and begin the work of implementing these important reforms that will benefit our state and all Louisianans tremendously.”

The Baton Rouge-based Louisiana Budget Project provides independent research and analysis of Louisiana fiscal issues and their impact on low and moderate income residents.

UPDATE, 12:25 PM – At National Review, Ed Whelan says Roberts apparently flipped at the last minute – because of how the dissent reads…

The joint dissent issued by Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito certainly reads as though it were written to be the majority opinion. Among other things, the joint dissent’s discussion of the taxing power doesn’t respond to the Chief Justice’s opinion (indeed, I think it never even cites it). Rather, it addresses only the government’s argument. By contrast, the Chief’s opinion repeatedly takes issue with the joint dissent. This strongly suggests to me that the joint dissent was written first, as the proposed majority opinion, but failed to garner the fifth vote from the Chief.

The fact that the joint dissent (see slip op. at 13-16) repeatedly refers to Justice Ginsburg’s views on the Commerce Clause issue as the “dissent” reinforces my impression—all the more so as the dissenters don’t undertake to point out that their views combined with the Chief Justice’s establish a majority on the Commerce Clause point.

In any event, enough of what-might-have-been. The imperative now needs to be to defeat Obamacare politically this November.

And also at National Review, Jonathan Adler says this is a case of Lose The Battle, Win The War

It’s unfortunate that Chief Justice Roberts joined the liberal justices to uphold the individual mandate as a tax.  Yet as I understand the ruling, the opinion does very little to enlarge the federal government’s power and, in key respects, reinforced federalism limitations on federal power.  According to SCOTUSBlog, while Chief Justice Roberts concluded the mandate is a tax, he also rejected the Commerce Clause arguments in favor of the mandate.  This is significant, because it will limit the ability of Congress to adopt additional mandates in the future.  No one will be able to claim such requirements are not a tax, and this will make such requirements more difficult to enact.

Equally important, the majority narrowed the Medicaid provisions substantially in a way that limits Congress’s power to impose conditions on the receipt of federal spending. Specifically, the Court held that Congress may attach conditions on the receipt of new money — in this case the Medicaid expansion — but that Congress may not condition the receipt of funds for separate, pre-existing programs on compliance with the conditions for the new program. In other words, if states refuse to go along with the Medicaid expansion, they don’t lose existing Medicaid funds. If my understanding is accurate, this opinion would mark the firmest limit on use of the spending power in decades, and could constrain lots of future mischief.

UPDATE, 11:40 AMTim Carney at the Washington Examiner notes that what the GOP really needs is 51 seats in the Senate and the individual mandate will go away…

Mitt Romney just now called for immediate entire repeal of Obamacare. Even with a GOP House, GOP Senate, and GOP President, that will be hard, because Dems can and will filibuster a bill, and a 60-vote GOP majority is not in the cards any time soon.

But repealing the individual mandate takes only 51 votes (50, if a Republican is the vice president). You see, Senators can’t filibuster a bill passed under “budget reconciliation.” Since Chief Justice John Roberts ruled today that Obama’s individual mandate is a tax, Republicans, it seems to me, could simply lower the tax for not having health insurance down to $0.00, as a matter of budget reconciliation.

Since it’s a tax and not a mandate, there can’t be any penalty for not having health insurance above and beyond the tax. So, voila! No more mandate!

We’re going to say that while Carney’s right about the mandate going away via reconciliation, he’s wrong about the whole bill. The whole bill was passed via reconciliation and there’s no question the GOP wouldn’t hesitate to repeal it via reconciliation. That genie was let out of the bottle on March 20, 2010.

UPDATE, 11:37 AM – If you read the Ulsterman Report and pay attention to those White House Insider dispatches, you’ll see this as interesting. WHI says this is exactly what’s necessary…

The Obamacare ruling is good news for us. Real good news. It’s 2010 all over again now. Swing states will shift over to Romney in most cases. Trust me on this. We’ve done the polling. The data is conclusive on this. It’s a huge tax. We got Obama lying. Again.
The Tea Party movement, which was as real and powerful a political movement as I’ve ever seen in my lifetime, is back in play. That scares the hell out of the Obama White House. You just got a bunch of Dems sweating hard over their re-election. The Republican Party will now be a lot more focused and clearly conservative and that’s exactly what they need to be this time around. We must make the election a clear divide between one side and the other and this Obamacare ruling has forced that to happen.

And the initial reports I’m getting are telling me there was a lot more clever going on inside that decision than the initial reaction will indicate. It’s the Obama Tax now. And states were given an out. The entire law is a big ass convoluted mess and the ruling has reinforced that fact. Obama will have to defend something he doesn’t understand, and Romney can now sit back and just repeat over and over again “repeal-repeal-repeal”.

You can call bullsh-t on me here and I’ll understand if you do but I’m telling you right up this ruling today is GOOD NEWS. Politically, as a motivator, it’s great news. Watch contributions toward Republicans jump up even more than they already were. Watch the Obama White House have to face very hard questions over the Obamacare tax issue. Watch states rise up to challenge the administration using the weapon the Supreme Court placed in their hands to do so. Watch the Tea Party come back stronger and more powerful than ever.

The giant has woken up. Country needed a hard kick in the ass to remind us what is at stake in November. Now we are truly ready to fight.

Last thing. Romney was preparing for this decision. He gets to go with the better script now. He’s coming out swinging hard on this one.

UPDATE, 11:34 AM – At National Review, Andy McCarthy says part of the problem here is that Republicans have surrendered to the Left on a key premise that is fundamentally flawed – and it will take some major courage to change that…

But, at the risk of being a broken record, we remain focused on the wrong issue because conservatives and Republicans do not want any part of the right issue. Congress would not be able to tax anyone a penny if the subject matter on which lawmakers sought to spend the money raised was not within Congress’s constitutional authority to address. Health care and health insurance are precisely such issues. So why does Congress get to raise taxes for and spend money on them? Because the country — very much including Republican leaders and many conservatives — has bought on to the wayward progressive premise that the General Welfare Clause of the Constitution empowers Congress to spend on anything it wants to spend on as long as their is some fig-leaf that ties the spending to the betterment of society. That, and not an inflated understanding of the Commerce Clause, has always been the problem. Republicans are afraid to touch this because, if you follow the logic, you’d have to conclude that Congress has no constitutional authority to set up a Social Security system, a Medicare or Medicaid program, or most of the innumerable Big Government enterprises that Republicans support while, of course, decrying Big Government. Republicans occasionally want to limit what government spends, but they don’t want to acknowledge any constitutional limits on what government could spend — that’s what has gotten us to this point.

UPDATE, 11:29 AM – Here’s a clip you’ll probably see again and again between now and the election…

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

UPDATE, 11:28 AM – You can read the opinions here.

UPDATE, 11:25 AM – Rep. John Fleming…

“The Supreme Court has confirmed what President Obama and Washington liberals denied: Obamacare is a massive tax increase, and it will force the American people to fund another government-run entitlement. While giving states a break from Obamacare’s Medicaid burden, the Court hasgiven no such option to individuals.

“This decision strikes at the heart of our liberty and raises taxes for a new government program that has an enormous price tag, and represents one of the greatest government power grabs in ourlifetime. Obamacare accelerates the demise of Medicare, empowers unelected bureaucrats to make decisions about medical care, provides for taxpayer-funded abortions, dramatically expands the role of the IRS to enforce the individual mandate, drives up government spending, does nothing to bring down the rising costs of health care, and inserts the federal government between doctors and patients.

“Congress and the American people will have the last word on this. I am more committed than ever to fighting for the full repeal of Obamacare.”

UPDATE, 11:24 AM – Rep. Steve Scalise…

“While I am disappointed in the Court’s decision and would have liked to see a complete overturn of Obamacare, it is clear that President Obama’s health care law has failed the American people by increasing costs and jeopardizing the quality health care that millions of American families enjoy today,” Scalise said. “The Supreme Court had their say on the last Thursday in June, but the American people will have their say on the first Tuesday in November. President Obama has consistently said that his health care law was not a tax increase on American families, but that’s exactly how the Supreme Court classified the individual mandate today. Not only is this new tax yet another violation of the promises made by President Obama, it will hit American families and small businesses squarely in the gut as they struggle to stay afloat in the failed Obama economy. Despite the Supreme Court’s decision, I am more resolved than ever to repeal Obamacare and work to fix the real problems in health care like cost and access without breaking the things that make American medical care the best in the world.”

UPDATE, 11:22 AM – As Obama warbles on about sick kids and how his law will make sure they’re never sick again, Rick Perry puts out a statement…

“This ruling will be a stomach punch to the American economy. It is a shocking disappointment to freedom-loving Americans desperate to get our country back on track. Obamacare is bad for the economy, bad for health care, bad for freedom. Americans have made clear their overwhelming opposition to its convoluted, burdensome and overreaching mandates.

“Freedom was frontally attacked by passage of this monstrosity – and the Court utterly failed in its duty to uphold the Constitutional limits placed on Washington. Now that the Supreme Court has abandoned us, we citizens must take action at every level of government and demand real reform, done with respect for our Constitution and our liberty.”

The Dow is down 132 points today.

UDPATE, 11:20 AM – Some quotes from the dissent…

“[W]e cannot rewrite the statute to be what it is not. “‘“[A]l- though this Court will often strain to construe legislation so as to save it against constitutional attack, it must not and will not carry this to the point of perverting the purpose of a statute . . .” or judicially rewriting it.’”

“‘[A] tax is an enforced contribution to provide for the support of government; a penalty . . . is an exaction imposed by statute as punishment for an unlawful act.’”

“we have never held—never—that a penalty imposed for violation of the law was so trivial as to be in effect a tax.”

“And several of Congress’ legislative“findings” with regard to §5000A confirm that it sets fortha legal requirement and constitutes the assertion of regulatory power, not mere taxing power. See 42 U. S. C. §18091(2)(A) (“The requirement regulates activity . . .”);§18091(2)(C) (“The requirement . . . will add millions of new consumers to the health insurance market . . .”); §18091(2)(D) (“The requirement achieves near-universal coverage”); §18091(2)(H) (“The requirement is an essential part of this larger regulation of economic activity, and the absence of the requirement would undercut Federal regulation of the health insurance market”); §18091(3) (“[T]he Supreme Court of the United States ruled that insuranceis interstate commerce subject to Federal regulation”).”

“And the nail in the coffin is that the mandate and penalty are located in Title I of the Act, its operative core, rather than where a tax would be found—in Title IX, containing the Act’s “Revenue Provisions.” In sum, “the terms of [the] act rende[r] it unavoidable,” Parsons v. Bedford, 3 Pet. 433, 448 (1830), that Congress imposed a regulatory penalty, not a tax.”

UPDATE, 11:17 AM – Louisiana GOP chair Roger Villere’s statement…

“Our mission is now clear. We must replace Obama and repeal the Obamacare Tax,” LAGOP Chairman Roger Villere Jr. said, following today’s 5-4 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that upheld the constitutionality of Obamacare as a tax.

The Court ruled that the individual mandate violates the commerce clause of the Constitution, but falls within Congress’ power to tax, effectively holding that Obamacare is the largest tax increase in American history.

“While a narrow majority of the Court upheld the constitutionality of Obamacare, it is still bad public policy and bad for the American people,” said Chairman Villere.

“The implementation of Obamacare will grossly expand the role of government in our everyday lives, increase taxes on an already burdened American people and devastate our economy.”

The Supreme Court’s decision comes as a shock to many Americans who feel Obamacare infringes upon their right to choose their healthcare benefits.

“With a presidential election on the horizon, the Republican Party of Louisiana will continue the fight to repeal Obamacare and fix the problems caused by President Obama and his progressive agenda. Americans deserve the right to have access to healthcare from the doctor they choose at a price they can afford without government interference. Defeating Obama in November is the most important thing we can do for the future of our country,” Villere said.

UPDATE, 11:13 AM – This from the Republican Attorneys General Association…

Republican Attorneys General Association Chairman Scott Pruitt (R-OK) issued the following statement today following a decision from the Supreme Court of the United States to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:

“We’re disappointed the Court upheld the individual mandate, and find it disturbing that they did not place a limit on the power of the federal government to control the lives of Americans.”

“But, the battle isn’t over. It is now up to the political process to repeal the act and replace it with measures that address the health care crisis within the confines of the Constitution. We must continue to oppose this act and multiple overreaching regulations proposed by the Obama Administration that cross the line of federal power.”

“This fall, the American people will have the opportunity to save the country from a disastrous future of similar intrusive policies and budget-busting costs by choosing their leaders wisely. Freedom and flexibility must remain with the states whose leaders know best how to care for the needs of their citizens.”

“Republican attorneys general will continue to serve as a firewall, taking every action to defend our states against this massive overreach from the federal government.”

UPDATE, 11:10 AM – At Power Line, Scott Johnson’s take has a “what exactly do you expect from the Supreme Court?” flavor to it…

The idea that the Supreme Court would save us from Obamacare is more fitting for Greek drama, with its device of the deus ex machina, than for modern constitutional law. The big legal fight over Obamacare was a good one, one worth having — and more remain — but I didn’t think the Court was going to save us from this monstrous pseudo-law.

Nevertheless, the litigation over Obamacare provides a good education in the idea of limited constitutional government and the imminent danger of its passing. It also demonstrates the jeopardy in which Obamacare has placed it. To borrow an expression from another of the Supreme Court’s First Amendment mistakes, Obamacare poses a clear and present danger to limited constitutional government.

Now the fight against Obamacare will be won if it all only on the political battlefield. The Supreme Court has relegated us to the remedy of self-help. The time, coincidentally, is now.

UPDATE, 11:05 AMErick Erickson’s take on this is interesting. He titles it “I’m not down on John Roberts,” and after going through a number of line items which discuss the effects of the ruling, he gives us this…

Finally, while I am not down on John Roberts like many of you are today, i will be very down on Congressional Republicans if they do not now try to shut down the individual mandate. Force the Democrats on the record about the mandate. Defund Obamacare. This now, by necessity, is a political fight and the GOP sure as hell should fight.

60% of Americans agree with them on the issue. And guess what? The Democrats have been saying for a while that individual pieces of Obamacare are quite popular. With John Roberts’ opinion, the repeal fight takes place on GOP turf, not Democrat turf. The all or nothing repeal has always been better ground for the GOP and now John Roberts has forced everyone onto that ground.

It seems very, very clear to me in reviewing John Roberts’ decision that he is playing a much longer game than us and can afford to with a life tenure. And he probably just handed Mitt Romney the White House.

UPDATE, 11:01 AM – Rep. Rodney Alexander weighs in…

“The public outcry of opposition apparently did not resonate with the congressional majority or the Supreme Court. In recent history, the Affordable Care Act has been the most divisive issue for both lawmakers and American citizens, and despite this decision to uphold the law, I expect the controversy will continue to grow as this monumental decision affects every single man, woman and child.

“While this ruling offers some certainty to hospitals, doctors and employers, who have been preparing for the last two years for changes in the law, it is not a welcomed resolution. The order to buy health insurance will pummel businesses with its expensive mandates and fines, which the high court ruled constitutional as a tax. To be completely straightforward, the Affordable Care Act spends close to $2 trillion for an entitlement program that cannot be sustained. It also robs over $500 billion from Medicare, slashing benefits and raising premiums on seniors. The administration continues to misinform beneficiaries that they will not have services or benefits cut.

“So where do we go from here? I still believe the future of the Affordable Care Act remains in doubt. Republicans will continue the fight to dismantle this intrusive law, which will cost our economy trillions, increase taxes on the American people, and personal treatment for certain illnesses will be made by an unelected panel in Washington, instead of by patients and their doctors. Americans deserve better than this, and I will continue the pursuit of patient-centered, affordable and quality care.”

UPDATE, 10:54 AM – Wanna see class? Here’s class. This is the Executive Director of the Democrat Party (who happens to be from Louisiana)…


UPDATE, 10:48 AM – Sen. David Vitter on the proceedings…

UPDATE, 10:45 AM – Rand Paul weighs in (a doctor and a constitutional scholar, from what it sounds)…

“Just because a couple people on the Supreme Court declare something to be ‘constitutional’ does not make it so. The whole thing remains unconstitutional. While the court may have erroneously come to the conclusion that the law is allowable, it certainly does nothing to make this mandate or government takeover of our health care right,” Sen. Paul said.

“Obamacare is wrong for Americans. It will destroy our health care system. This now means we fight every hour, every day until November to elect a new President and a new Senate to repeal Obamacare,” he continued.

UPDATE, 10:16 AM – Rep. Bill Cassidy weighs in…

UPDATE, 10:15 AM – An interesting quote about Commerce power from the opinion which will be significant in the future…

“The power to regulate commerce presupposes the existence of commercial activity to be regulated.”

UPDATE, 10:06 AM – From Gov. Bobby Jindal’s Facebook page, an interesting quote:

Ironically, the Supreme Court has decided to be far more honest about Obamacare than Obama was. They rightly have called it a tax. Today’s decision is a blow to our freedoms. The Court should have protected our constitutional freedoms, but remember it was the President that forced this law on us.

The American people did not want or approve of Obamacare then, and they do not now. Americans oppose it because it will decrease the quality of health care in America, raise taxes, cut Medicare, and break the bank. All of this is still true. Republicans must drive hard toward repeal, this is no time to go weak in the knees.

UPDATE, 10:04 AM  – A couple of quick thoughts.

First, the legal precedent that really matters here is that Congress doesn’t have the power under the Commerce Clause to regulate whether or not you buy health insurance. The Supreme Court just put a limit on that power that hasn’t really been set since Commerce Clause power was blown into the stratosphere in 1942 with the Wickard v. Filburn decision. Recent cases have backtracked to some degree on that power, but this is the most prominent one.

And that will matter more than anything else going forward.

But the Court reinterpreted Obamacare as a tax, apparently under the theory that since it will force everybody to pay something that they’re not forced to pay now, it qualifies. And that means the president gets his health care law, but he only gets it under the most politically disastrous circumstances possible. All along the Democrats denied that the bill constituted a tax, but that was because politically they could never have passed it as a tax increase – and specifically they could never have passed it as a tax increase on the poor, which that $2,000 a year penalty for not having insurance fundamentally is.

It was only when they started having to defend the law in court that the Obama administration reversed itself and offered it as a tax. Which is a fundamentally dishonest thing for them to have done, and the fact that it was never contemplated – at least not openly – as a tax by its proponents when it was debated in 2010 probably should have been decisive in Chief Justice John Roberts’ analysis. But it wasn’t, and that’s why you have a 5-4 vote to uphold the mandate.

This means the final disposition of the law politically, and what the Obama administration will have to defend between now and November, is that it’s a massive tax increase on the American public.

And the treatment of the Medicaid portion of the case, which isn’t quite as well understood (and I can’t say I understand it all that well myself), will make for a nice bit of chaos. Apparently, states can refuse to participate in the expansion of Medicaid coverage. And many of them will, based on the fact that to do so will ultimately put them on the hook for devastating cost increases.

What else we can look for is for businesses to dump health insurance coverage in a willy-nilly fashion. And while this is a terrible development in the short run, over the long haul it’s a good thing; people should buy their own health insurance. And because politically there is no way Obamacare will go forward past November, you could well have a much more robust health-care market which will overflow the government’s ability to restrain it.

Because it’s never been particularly likely the Democrats would hold the Senate. They won’t. They definitely won’t now. And Obama might be rejoicing about today’s decision, but he’s going to have a rough time defending a tax increase between now and November.

UPDATE, 9:29 AM – On the Medicaid provision:

Nothing in our opinion precludes Congress from offering funds under the ACA to expand the availability of health care, and requiring that states accepting such funds comply with the conditions on their use. What Congress is not free to do is to penalize States that choose not to participate in that new program by taking away their existing Medicaid funding.

UPDATE, 9:22 AM – From SCOTUSBLOG: “Chief Justice Roberts’ vote saved the ACA.”

UPDATE, 9:20 AM – It looks like this law survives, but in perhaps the most politically damaging way possible to the Obama administration. The election is going to turn on the fact that the Obama administration lied about whether this is a tax or not.

UPDATE, 9:15 AM – The court has limited the Medicaid expansion, but hasn’t thrown it out.

UPDATE, 9:10 AM – Or maybe not. Maybe the mandate survives as a tax.

UPDATE, 9:08 AM – Fox News is reporting the individual mandate is unconstitutional. The Commerce Clause has a limit after all.

It’s 10:00 eastern time, so the ruling on Obamacare should come down any minute.

Lots of different interpretations, most of them seem to be that the individual mandate will go down in flames – with about a 50-50 chance that the whole thing goes down.

Last week there was a rumor on Capitol Hill the whole thing was going down. But that rumor also said the decision would be released Monday, so we can dispense with that rumor – though the substance of it might well be true.

We’ll be up with updates all morning as events warrant.

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