Klein: Decision on Individual Mandate Could Come Down to Kennedy

February 10, 2011
310 Views

Prognostications and general predictions aside, the often polarized nature of the SCOTUS lends itself to easy expectations of the high court’s decisions on many key issues. Hot buttons such as same-sex marriage, immigration issues, and, now, apparently, the fight of the DOJ to keep the reform law completely intact — can be added to that list. Policy watchers usually know how most of the justices will respond to pending arguments before them. All, except one major “swing” decision, however.

Prognostications and general predictions aside, the often polarized nature of the SCOTUS lends itself to easy expectations of the high court’s decisions on many key issues. Hot buttons such as same-sex marriage, immigration issues, and, now, apparently, the fight of the DOJ to keep the reform law completely intact — can be added to that list. Policy watchers usually know how most of the justices will respond to pending arguments before them. All, except one major “swing” decision, however. From Ezra Klein:

As of now, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy is the most pivotal health-care policy thinker in America. […] Health-care reform is likely to come down to Kennedy—in particular, his views on the so-called individual mandate, which requires all those who can afford it to purchase health insurance.

One thing as sure as the mandate provision’s eventual fate  (whatever that will be) is that President Obama’s desperate push for bipartisanism regarding the reform law and its implementation, after this decision, will become more and more futile as either the Democrats’ or Republicans’ perception of this latest chapter in the saga of reform will reinforce the notion of judicial activism. And that could close the door on total bipartisan support on most of the law’s other forthcoming provisions.

 

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