NRL News

The Supreme Court’s Decision to Review ObamaCare: the Day After

by | Nov 16, 2011

By Dave Andrusko

The United States Supreme Court

The beauty of the Internet, and blogs in particular, is that a news event can come down at 11:00 am, be analyzed, chewed over, and debated over the next six hours, and then be rehashed and rehashed the day after, hopefully with additional insights, almost as if the previous day’s coverage didn’t exist.

Such is the case with the Supreme Court’s decision yesterday morning to review ObamaCare . (For our initial take,  see ( .)

Unsurprisingly both the Obama administration and the lawyer representing the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) expressed confidence the justices would see the case their way. All we know is that the justices allotted a mammoth amount of time–5 ½ hours, as compared to the usual one hour–to tackle four major questions raised by the plaintiff’s suit and the Justice Department’s response.

They are the “individual mandate,” the highly controversial requirement  that virtually every American obtain health insurance by 2014 or pay a penalty; if the mandate is declared unconstitutional, how much (some of the law, as the Administration prefers, all of the law, as the NFIB prefers) of ObamaCare must fall; the law’s expansion of  Medicaid; and finally the threshold question –whether the High Court can get/should get involved until the mandate goes into effect in 2014 and somebody fails to get insurance or pay a penalty.

Most everyone expects that the Supreme Court will not use an obscure tax decision (the Anti-Injunction Act) to avoid a decision, although that is not a sure thing. But given that both the Administration and its critics want an answer; and given that various circuit courts of appeal have reached different conclusions (thumbs up, thumbs down, and punt), the odds are the justices will address the merits of the “Affordable Care Act.”

Today’s coverage included more discussion of the politics of the Obama administration’s decision to appeal the one circuit appeals court that ruled against ObamaCare (the 11th) directly to the Supreme Court rather than have it reheard, which would have pushed a decision past the 2012 presidential season.

Charles Lane, a columnist for the Washington Post, discussed the pros and cons in a thoughtful column this morning. In a nutshell

“[I]f the Supreme Court upholds the law in the middle of next year’s election campaign, the likely political result is a backlash that will favor the Republicans. Nothing would more effectively inflame the GOP base, or assure that those voters turn out in November, than being told by the Supreme Court that Obamacare is here to stay unless the country elects a Republican Congress and president to repeal it. A ruling against the law might inspire Democrats to turn out and vote against the court. But I doubt it; the protest would be futile because the law would be dead.”

An in-between position is that the Obama administration calculated that the High Court was going to resolve the disagreement anyway, and that it was smart politics to get ahead of the announcement. This way, rather than appearing to be reacting defensively to the Court’s decision, the Obama administration could be seen to be confident the law was on its side.

Although these are not the issues raised in the lawsuit, there are specific dimensions of ObamaCare that are highly important to pro-lifers. No matter how many times Obama denies it, there are multiple abortion-expanding provisions of ObamaCare. (See in an October 6 letter to the House of Representatives and in testimony by Legislative Director Douglas Johnson at It is those abortion-expanding  provisions  that the Protect Life Act, passed by the House October 13, are intended to remedy.

Specifically, ObamaCare includes provisions  that “provide authorizations for subsidies for abortion, both implicit and explicit, and also multiple provisions that opened doors to abortion-expanding administrative actions.”  The Protect Life Act would prohibit the use of any ObamaCare-authorized funds for abortions or to subsidize health plans that cover abortions, except to save the life of the mother, or in cases of rape or incest.

There are also provisions in ObamaCare  that virtually guarantee rationing. (See

Keep tuned to The fate of ObamaCare is enormously important to our Movement.

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