Why I Hope SCOTUS Strikes Down Obamacare
Carl Gibson, Reader Supported News
ear with me here. I know I caught a lot of flak for my last "make it worse so it'll get better" article. Let's do one more.
If the Supreme Court strikes down the Affordable Care Act, that can mean either of two things: we commiserate over the defeat of President Obama's signature legislation, or we use the remaining months in this election cycle to demand President Obama defy the SCOTUS and craft a stronger healthcare reform bill in his second term.
It's likely the Supreme Court's ruling on Obamacare will be influenced by politics instead of historical precedent. Since John Roberts' appointment as Chief Justice, SCOTUS has ruled in favor of corporate America's chief lobbying institution, the US Chamber of Commerce, in all seven cases where the Chamber took one side or the other. The Chamber has openly stated that the individual mandate can't be separated from the Affordable Care Act. There won't be any middle ground for SCOTUS to take: they either keep the law intact, or strike all of it. Clarence Thomas' family receiving $1.5 million from anti-healthcare-reform special interests will undoubtedly play a part in his decision. I bet he rules against it. What do you think?
Given the record of our founders in the earliest-recorded pages of American history, an individual health insurance mandate is not all that unusual. In fact, President George Washington signed legislation into law in 1790 that mandated ship owners buy health insurance for their seamen. In 1792, Congress successfully passed an individual mandate that all able-bodied men buy firearms. And in 1798, Congress once again mandated that seamen buy medical insurance for themselves. Essentially, if SCOTUS does strike down the Affordable Care Act as unconstitutional, their ruling will directly conflict with historical precedent, exposing the partisan nature of their ruling.
The justices of the US Supreme Court, 10/08/11. (photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)
This is why I'm hoping SCOTUS strikes down Obamacare; it will be Obama's excuse to use his second term to push for actual healthcare reform, either a single-payer system like in Vermont, or an option for younger Americans to buy into Medicare (a public option). And, by doing it in the height of election season, an increasingly unpopular SCOTUS will give Obama all the populist political ammo he needs to win re-election in their increasingly unpopular, corporatist decisions.
Five justices on the Supreme Court have already drawn the ire of millions of activists by violating the Tenth Amendment to the US Constitution in striking down Montana's century-old Corrupt Practices Act. Activists are already getting city councils nationwide to adopt resolutions defying SCOTUS' 2010 Citizens United decision, stating that money is not speech and that corporations aren't people. State legislatures in Hawaii, New Mexico and Vermont have officially adopted anti-Citizens United resolutions, and other states have resolutions pending. While they're winning battles, the Supreme Court is destined to lose the war the conservative fve have been waging on behalf of corporations.
Obama can pile on the anti-SCOTUS sentiment in the months leading up to November by defying the Obamacare decision and promising a stronger version of healthcare reform. And with Justices Scalia, Ginsberg and Kennedy likely to retire before 2016, Obama can then appoint two new liberal justices to ensure the survival of healthcare reform and the death of Citizens United.
So please, SCOTUS, strike down Obamacare. I dare you.
Carl Gibson, 25, is co-founder of US Uncut, a nationwide creative direct-action movement that mobilized tens of thousands of activists against corporate tax avoidance and budget cuts in the months leading up to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Carl and other US Uncut activists are featured in the documentary "We're Not Broke," which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. He currently lives in Old Lyme, Connecticut. You can contact Carl at firstname.lastname@example.org, and listen to his online radio talk show, Swag The Dog, at blogtalkradio.com/swag-the-dog.
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