“Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice”

ImageCome January 20, 2013 I expect Barack Obama to be sworn in for his second term. After Chief Justice Roberts administers the oath of office, it’s likely he and the President will shake hands. At that moment, I expect the President to pull the Chief Justice close so that he can speak directly and privately to him:

“Thank you.”

Chief Justice Robert’s vote to uphold the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) all but ensures that President Obama will be re-elected come November. For many undecideds, the Supremes’ stamp of approval legitimizes the law and – with it – Obama’s administration. That approval, coupled with the lingering lack of enthusiasm for Willard Mitt Romney, will be enough to ovecome even the millions and millions of dollars that the conservative super PACs are raising and threatening to spend. It won’t be a walk, but it won’t be a nailbiter either.

Expect to see the following: 1) widening gaps in swing state polls of likely voters and 2) super PACs withholding expenditures (even while they continue to raise money by promising to beat Obama).

Yes, I know it’s a long way to November and anything can happen. That said, barring an unexpected event, the general landscape of this election is set. And, I think, it’s over.

What do you think?

– Austin

39 thoughts on ““Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice”

  1. william wallace says:

    BARACK is as the girlfriend or the boyfriend whom
    you believe you have deep feelings for / someone
    in whom you could share your life ..HOWEVER it’s
    been your fortune or disfortune in discovering that
    he in fact is a vampire // thus despite your feelings
    you know your having no alternative / but in doing
    your duty unto huminity // thus ending his reign of
    terror by your plunging an stake through his heart.

    Thus t’will be the decision of the people in coming
    election / they must do their duty unto humanity &
    and understand their action is not murder // it is a
    act of lawful killing / an act that must be done thus
    once more for the people’s of America in knowing
    the joys of true freedom the joy of true democracy.

  2. william wallace says:

    People want an fair Healthcare / upon that are all in agreement.

    Wot BARACK has done is twin himself with Healthcare it be the
    people’s response /accepting Healthcare but remove BARACK.

  3. pm says:

    Now I am imagining ole WW there turning around and lifting up his skirt to show his hairy Sss to all of us (who will probably mistake it for his blue face)

  4. pm says:

    But Jon I do agree that an Obama win is probable. This decision will help. It legitimizes his previous efforts and emphasizes the fundamental bipartisanshipnof his approach.

  5. william wallace says:

    In twinning himself to Healthcare as a election winner
    BARACK having shown how vulnerable he is…………
    in a game of poker / he is dependent on the river card
    bringing him a winning hand /the odds being very poor.

    His rivals now know his hand / knowing his limitations
    know the game he will play /knowing his weaknesses.

    BARACK has to play a game of bluff for months which
    not only against other politicians / but also against the
    public whom he lied / with each empty broken promise.

    BARACK played all for fools the rights of people gone
    failed protect them / removing the few remaining rights
    that people still had in place cruel unforgiving conduct.

    The rate at which people grow seeing BARACK as a
    fraudster / continues in mounting / by leaps / bounds
    come the election // his support then being very poor.

    The media owned by the rich & powerful will still give
    BARACK their backing / they invested a lot of money
    and time in making him president & want their return
    for their investment. However in time they will see the
    writing on the wall & switch support unto republicans.

  6. william wallace says:

    Jim /I have a hand holding xxx xxxx
    you have but a pair of two’s/ clubs.

    An magician distracts you with one
    hand while other hand is producing
    the bunny in the hat/piece of magic.

    Even when being told to watch such
    other hand not the one causing the
    distraction / people can’t do it / they
    are still distracted by the magician.

    I can only repeat to you don’t watch
    the hand in causing such distraction
    look to the other hand / then you’ll
    truly but see a magician performing.

  7. momkat778 says:

    When I heard the decision, I immediately thought Obama would be re-elected. Hope so.

    1. william wallace says:

      BARACK / not only broke every promise made
      he also removed the few rights people still had.

      His banker friends awarded him an Nobel Prize
      in awe at his abilities to lie /to deceive to cheat.

  8. Newt says:

    While Obamacare remains wholly unconstitutional, I think Roberts’ flip-flop did some strategic juijitsu that Obama and libs haven’t fully grasped yet. He hung Obamacare – and yes, the massive tax increases – back around their necks to defend. Roberts also gave states the latitude to opt out of Medicare increases; we’ll see at least half of them exercise that discreation. So in the end I fail to see how any of this helps Obama. Most Dems are running from this “win” knowing full well that the taxation shoe is about to drop on their constituents.

    1. The tax sword cuts both directions: if it’s a tax for Obamacare, it’s a tax for Romneycare. Rick Santorum was right (there’s a phrase that rarely gets said around my house): Romney is the worst Republican to go up against Obama on this issue. He’s so pregnant on this we may have to induce.

      As to the Roberts jujitsu, if there is any it’s in the long-term play limiting the commerce clause. Not going to help in this election cycle. I can live with that as it’s my layman’s opinion that the commerce clause has been tortured way beyond intention.

      There’s a reason Glenn Beck is selling (at $30 a piece!) t-shirts with Roberts’ picture and the word “Coward” on it (other than his usual batshit craziness) and it ain’t because the right wing is cheering because Roberts put one over on us hapless Dems.

      Bless his heart, Roberts did something for reasons other than immediate partisan advantage; the only reason that makes sense to me is that he cares about the reputation of the court more than a 5-4 victory on a single case.

      How refreshing. If only more of our leaders would put the interests of their institutions about the politics of the instant, we might have a chance of solving a few of our problems.

      – Austin

      1. Rob Levine says:

        Actually I believe Roberts came to his convoluted rhetoric to save the profits of the the insurers and pharma. Notice how they sat on the sidelines during this debate?

      2. Newt says:

        Jon, I get it. When you say, “Roberts did something for reasons other than immediate partisan advantage,” it means the other four justices in the majority are not partisan. How convenient.

        Bruce, yes, the Court affirmed the constitutionality of Obamacare. But only because the Chief Justice chose an extra-Constutitional reason for casting the vote he made. As Austin correctly stated, avoidance of the appearance of partisanship was Roberts’ rationale. Which is contrary to the oath he took.

        I believe we’ll see Dem majorities booted from all three branches of elective office, and this mistake will be righted in February. Only then will Roberts have the possibility of redeeming himself.

      3. Erik says:

        This guy is the poorest quality wonk I have seen write on the topic.

        He’s wrong. The regulators will get captured by the industry. Either the rule will go away, or the industry will magicly start meeting the ratio.

      4. Rob Levine says:

        Re: The Loss Ratio. This is indeed a time-bomb, but not in the way the author envisions. Since there are very few controls on costs, the only way medical providers can increase profits is to *increase the total cost pie*. Eighti percent of 100 is 80, but 80 percent of 200 is 160, hence they can easily increase profits merely by increasing prices. Since the government is providing subsidies to premiums expect health care costs to explode shortly.

      5. Jim Leinfelder says:

        Well, you boys are the experts, of course, but I took his point to be that this was a time bomb for for-profit health insurers, not health care providers.

      6. Erik says:

        I took it as that also.

        That DS rubs his hands with glee at that the thought of some future schadenfreude he anticipates enjoying when the private insurance industry collapses. That’s fine. He can enjoy the thought now, because it won’t come to pass. There’s more elasticity than that in the private markets. And….. the industry will capture the regulators.

        But also….. yes, there’s a mandate now… but the uninsured are not going to go out and buy policies. They’ll pay the tax penalty, which is in effect an adjustment will be made at tax filing. And when they get sick…. yes, they can get a policy at a community rating…but they’re not going to do that, for the same reason they don’t buy policies now. They don’t have the money. So insofar as the cranks worry and the apparatchik douchebags like this guy fantasize that Obamacare builds in an adverse selection problem, it really isn’t going to happen. The uninsured are still broke, and will not become policy holders of the private companies. It’s not as if the insurers are going to have to pay claims on people who aren’t policy holders. But yes, everybody’s premiums go up because you can’t now underwrite for pre-existing conditions.

        Obamacare is a lot of tax hikes and very little useful expanded coverage.

      7. Jim Leinfelder says:

        Really, people who couldn’t afford health insurance before are not now going to avail themselves of subsidized coverage that will enable them to see a doctor before their maladies get so severe that they drag themselves to the ER?

        Is that what’s happened with RomneyCare in Mass? Nobody who wasn’t on private health insurance before has it now?

      8. Erik says:

        We’re to understand that the policy subsidies and the refundable premium tax credits are the same feature?…. And that they are not in effect in poor persons state if said state opts out of expanded Medicaid? And the exchanges don’t get set up if said state opts out of expanded Medicaid?

        I have my doubts this is entirely accurate. Could be true, but there’s no reason to believe it based on what’s in this editorial.

    2. william wallace says:

      You are right of course it’s but a distraction
      from such reality that BARACK an fraudster.

  9. Bruce Benidt says:

    This whole issue of what’s constitutional is fascinating. It’s like science — we are certain we know NOW what’s true and real, and those dopes a hundred years ago thought they knew too, but were wrong.

    Rand Paul and Newt — do you disagree with Marbury vs. Madision? 1803 Supreme Court ruling that established the court’s ability to review — and reject — Congress’s laws? The Constitution set up the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court said they can approve or reject legislative efforts. Doesn’t that make the Supreme Court’s decision constitutional by definition?

    But wait — slavery was once constitutional. So was prohibition. So was denying any but property-owning white males the vote. So does “constitutional” mean “right?”

    Doesn’t the Constitution say that the Constitution means whatever a majority of the Supreme Court says it means?

    What seems to be true is that something can be constitutional and still be wrong.

    Is that what you mean, Newt? Rand?

  10. Bruce Benidt says:

    Jon, I also texted a friend when the decision came down — “Obama’s re-election assured.”
    But I think it will be agonizingly close. I’m laying in extra rum now..

  11. Bruce Benidt says:

    Mr. William Wallace.

    We welcome rowdy debate here.

    Please leave the images of killing out of your comments. Those of us old enough to still feel the visceral horror of 1963 and 1968 find that language scary and uncivilized.


    1. william wallace says:

      Sorry about that / one tends in finding horror movies very funny
      not the least bit scarry / real life BARACK now that’s very scarry.

      1. Sir William –

        We’re a generally tolerant bunch, but we get a little uncomfortable with rhetoric that might suggest violence. Makes us work a little harder to come up with something else vivid and memorable, but we think it’s good hygiene.

        Speaking of which, I think I speak for all of us when I say that we also don’t need to know what’s under the kilt. Our imaginations are more than sufficient in this area as well.


        – Austin

  12. Newt: I don’t ascribe partisan motives to either the 4 in the minority or the other four in the majority. It does, however, appear to me that the Chief Justice’s vote was so out of character for him, based on my reading of his record, that I think it must have been motivated in part by a desire to protect the court from another round of reputational damage similar to what happened in the wake of Bush v. Gore.

    A recent poll suggests that his actions may have already yielded benefits in this area – at least among Dems and independents:


    – Austin

  13. Newt says:

    AUSTIN: Roberts’ vote “must have been motivated in part by a desire to protect the court from another round of reputational damage…”

    You have confirmed America’s worst nightmare – that a Supreme Court justice voted on the basis of something other than the case’s Constitutionality (as he pledged to do when he was sworn in).

    We already have enough politicians to fuck up America (535 of them). What we so desperately need are jurists who rule on the basis of law – not trivial and narcissistic concerns such as public perception.

    1. Newt –

      Your worst nightmare, perhaps, not mine. My nightmare – albeit not my worst – is that we are losing our ability to find common ground to solve the really vexing problems besetting our country (and our planet). That’s why a possible sign of such behavior is so welcome – even at the expense of strict constitutional constructionism (which I don’t agree with anyway.

      – Austin

  14. Newt says:

    “Common ground” is the domain of politicians – not jurists. I was going to say that I was appalled by your misunderstanding of the purpose of Constitutional law, but you fall in line with common Dems in this regard.

    1. Hope springs eternal, Newt. I keep coming back to this blog because I keep learning things.

      Article III, Section 2: “The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority…”

      Not much in the way of specifics regarding how the court or its members should come by its decisions. Over the last 225 years, the record has – in some decisions and dissents – tended to the “enumerated powers” view of things, meaning generally that if it ain’t specifically in the words of the Constitution, it ain’t lawful. In other cases, however, the “interpreted” approach has held sway and the court has seen fit to uphold laws or rights that are implied or can be inferred from intent and context. Which of these approaches is “the purpose of constitutional law” is an ongoing debate. In the last couple of decades, it has been the right side of the political spectrum clamoring for less interpretation, narrow rulings and such (“Down with ‘activist judges'”). Now, with a conservative majority on the court, particularly one that has shown itself willing to be “activist,” I think I’m hearing some similar cries from the left.

      I can’t remember who said it, but there is the saying that “An activist judge is one who disagrees with your opinion.” I think there’s some truth in that.

      – Austin

  15. Newt says:

    The “right” to privacy and other contrived Constitutional rights were just the start of this slippery slope. Ginsburg will probably be the next one to go. I only hope President Romney doesn’t pull a Roberts and confuse his mandate with being respected by liberals. There are things far more important in life – and survival.

  16. Will Dewey says:

    I think that the decision could be explained by Mr. Chief Justice Roberts realizing that this country MUST have something vaguely akin to this insane and blatantly UNconstitutional law and leaving the stage set for Congress to replace this law with one that IS constitutional under the tax and spend provision and actually delivers medical care to ALL Anericans, as the governments of most Western countries have done for many years now, at half the cost of what this country spends for seriously imperfect care. Legal judo it may be, but I applaud the apparent intent.

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