Last week’s Supreme Court’s decision on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act shocked court observers for no less than three reasons. First, the court held that the law is constitutional. Second, it did so under Congress’s taxing authority, not its “Commerce Clause” power. And third, its opinion was authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, who cast the deciding vote.
That third shocker is the one that may be the hardest to reconcile with expectations. Roberts is staunchly conservative and hardly considered a swing vote on most of the issues that come to the court.
He would hardly be expected to embrace legislation that its opponents consider a heinous over-reach by the government into the decisions of private individuals regarding how they provide for their own health care needs.
The rest of this column in available in this link to the Sacramento Bee, where it was originally published (Forum section, Sunday, July 1):