In the real world, the month of June means the warm air of spring and the latest sunset of the year. The end of another year of school. Nice weather, graduation parties, backyard barbeques and baseball games.
In the legal world, the month of June brings United States Supreme Court
decisions. Cases that are briefed and argued in the late winter and early spring
are usually decided and announced just before summer gets underway. Every
year, lawyers and legal observers anxiously await the decisions.
This year, we can expect two rulings somewhat unusual in their magnitude.
These decisions also may play a role in the presidential election this November.
This week, we will consider the legal challenge to the Patient Protection and
Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.
I searched the Internet looking for expert predictions as to how the Obamacare
case will be decided. A sizeable majority of pundits see the case coming down 5-4, with Justice Kennedy serving as the swing vote.
Here is one example.
If Obamacare is declared unconstitutional, it will be interesting to see how the
According to the latest poll numbers published by Rasmussen, "55 percent of likely U.S. voters at least somewhat favor repeal of the health care law while 39 percent are at least somewhat opposed."
Therefore, any effort on the part of the President to "run against the conservative court" and challenge his opponent, Mitt Romney, to come up with a better plan may backfire.
On the other hand, the President seems motivated these days by a desire to fire
up his base as opposed to appealing to the center. Witness his recent decision to openly support same-sex marriage, and his repeated calls for increased taxation on high wages earners. If Obamacare is thrown out, therefore, expect the President to point out that it was conservative Republican justices that cast the law aside and warn that by electing Romney, the public can expect more of the same in the future.
If Obamacare is upheld, it seems clear that the law will become an even greater
issue in the 2012 Presidential campaign. Romney will repeat his promise to do
everything possible to repeal the law immediately after being sworn in. The
President, on the other hand, will tell supporters of the health care law that he
must be reelected in order to make sure the statute stays on the books.
Next week, we will take a look at the Arizona immigration case, which also is likely to be decided in June.