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Chan Lowe: Obamacare headed for the Supreme Court


It looks like the Affordable Care Act is headed to the Supreme Court, thanks to a rash of conflicting lower court opinions.

Court kremlinologists in the media and legal communities, basing their prognostications on the previous records of the nine justices (you get a gold star if you can name all nine without cheating, and no…Judge Judy is not one of them), have already decided that “Obamacare” will be decided by a vote of 5-4, with the battlefield being the heart and mind of the Swing Justice, Anthony Kennedy (far left in this group portrait).

Why they say they know this is because the case turns on how you view the reach of government in individual lives, and at what point you feel that reach becomes an overreach. The much-reviled “individual mandate,” which is at the core of the battle, is either within the purview of the Interstate Commerce Clause of the Constitution, or it’s an unjust intrusion, imposing a penalty on people for not doing something.

We pretty much know how all the justices feel about government reach, except for Kennedy, who appears to be either wishy-washy or remarkably unfettered by ideology, depending on whether you agree with his vote on a case you care about.

On another court-related issue, when gay marriage finally works its way up to the Supremes, the social conservatives had better be careful what they wish for. The same libertarian beliefs that may impel Justices Alito, Scalia, Thomas and Roberts to deep-six Obamacare might just cause them to decide that government has no business telling individuals whom they can choose to share their lives with.

Maybe I'm dreaming, but a unanimous decision seems within the realm of possibility.

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why no mention that this bill was voted on and approved by democrats covered by a federal health insurance plan?

if the dems who gave eloquent speeches about how great obamacare is supposed to be, they could have at least had the cajones to forego their fantastic healthcare and opted for obama care. i dont seem to remember ANY doing that...not even Obama. Wouldn't it have carried a little weight if the elected dems would have accepted what they want to force on us?

let's see if any liberals can reply w/o using George Bush in their answer.

I will respond. They (congress) already are covered by a health insurance plan. Obamacare (a term I dislike) is not for those already covered but to help those who cannot get coverage to get coverage. And to make sure all are covered. So why would change plans? That is not the intent or purpose of this healthcare program. No one wants people who are already covered by a plan to dump it and go into this plan. I am assuming you failed to understand that.

Could say the same thing about the repbublicans as well...which i think was the ponit of the cartoon

Michelle...that's a very lucid point, except that Obamacare is not only mandated to those who are not covered... EVERY American is required to purchase it really cannot say the same thing about none of them voted for it. Why would Repubs take something they fought against? I specifically remember hearing some senator or house member mention minimum wage workers like McDonald's...and now McDonald's gets a waiver? I thought this was the panacea for them.

I look forward to the ruling. Thanks for the counter points...always good to speak to people w/ differing views in a civil format.

And the Federal employee plan is better than the garbage they are shoving down our throats.

Chan Lowe ends with

"government has no business telling individuals whom they can choose to share their lives with".

Government makes no such choice: gays, hetero's, group sex advocates, or whatever are all welcome to share their lives with each other. All government say is if they are willing to extend certain prerogatives like, tax status, to certain arrangements and call that marriage. Government has every right to limit what it chooses to call marriage. But, nowhere does government disallow any contract between consenting parties.

I am surprised that you did not use a depiction of the current Supreme Court to include Elena Kagan.

Elena Kagan? MIA?? If she has to recuse herself then it will only be eight judges ruling. Could we have a deadlock? She could be the unknown factor, too, but I doubt it based on her previous politics.

Great cartoon, except on two points:
•All of Congress, who voted on Health Care Reform in the first place, and may vote again whether to repeal it, are also covered by a fairly generous Federal Health Care Program themselves, so it is not just these nine.
•Can we try to dignify this highly charged subject by calling it by it's proper title: "Health Care Reform"? It may have been the President who originally proposed it, but all of Congress voted on it.
I, for one, am in favor of all Americans having nothing more or nothing less than what Conressional reps have for health insurance. If the cost is too high then work to reduce it, but with the same standard: equal health care for all!
Jim Cassidy, Plainville, CT

It is not clear why Chan Lowe believes the law will not be repealed before the Supreme Court has to take it up. Obviously, this is the proverbial "hot potato". SCOTUS doesn't really want it, and Democrats, like Ben Nelson and Bill Nelson do not want it hung around their necks on 2012. This will be a major campaign issue in 2012 and will cost the Democrats the Senate and probably the Presidency. Then, this monstrosity, with all its lies and hidden costs, will be repealed.

@ Jim Cassidy: I completely agree w/ your line "I, for one, am in favor of all Americans having nothing more or nothing less than what Conressional reps have for health insurance"...take away their free, cushy care and make them pay for it just like the rest of us do. What a great idea!?!

Oh...they won't do that? 1 rule for them and a different rule for us? hmmmmm....just like Animal Farm

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About the author
Chan LoweCHAN LOWE has been the Sun Sentinel’s first and only editorial cartoonist for the past twenty-six years. Before that, he worked as cartoonist and writer for the Oklahoma City Times and the Shawnee (OK) News-Star.

Chan went to school in New York City, Los Angeles, and the U.K., and graduated from Williams College in 1975 with a degree in Art History. He also spent a year at Stanford University as a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow.

His work has won numerous awards, including the Green Eyeshade Award and the National Press Foundation Berryman Award. He has also been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His cartoons have won multiple first-place awards in all of the Florida state journalism contests, and The Lowe-Down blog, which he began in 2008, has won writing awards from the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists.
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