BY MELISSA BYNES BROOKS
“Outsiders see and insiders know.”
It’s not a coincidence that President Barack Obama was unabashedly certain in his prediction about the outcome of the Supreme Court’s imminent decision regarding the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care). “I’m confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress,” said Obama earlier this week.
Of course he’d say that: he’s an “Insider.” And he has knowledge that makes him as certain about his landmark legislative achievement as some of us are about flying cars in the future (don’t believe me? the flying car just completed its first major test flight). So, Obama truly possesses insider know-it-all of the legal precedents and constitutional merits that will influence the decision about “Obamacare” – and probably a lot more.
Many “Outsiders” won’t fully comprehend all of the dynamics at play. The Supreme Court has been charged with ensuring that the American people will not have their rights infringed upon in tandem with an individual mandate to purchase health care insurance. Conservatives form a majority on the Supreme Court and most opponents of Obamacare are betting the law is going to be repealed.
The caveat is that even as opponents of Obamacare come out of the shadows peering with contempt for supposed infringements on their personal freedoms and liberties, the faux pas will be jurisprudence of originalism. That may end up being the conservative lifeline that keeps Obamacare from sinking.
Many conservatives are proponents of the jurisprudence of originalism which says the Constitution should be read according to its original implications at the time it was drafted and ratified. Translation: decisions regarding law should be considered in tandem to the purpose and values of the constitution and should not be influenced by partisan philosophies. Conservative principles and values often times align with: “What is in the best interest of the Union.”
As Ramesh Ponnuru of National Review has put it, judicial restraint “is best understood as a finger on the scales, tipping judges in close cases against invalidating the actions of Congress, or state or local governments.” During his 2005 Senate confirmation hearings, Chief Justice John Roberts stressed his belief that the Supreme Court should practice “judicial modesty,” a respect for precedent and consensus that he extended even to the abortion-legalizing Roe v. Wade (1973), a case Roberts described as “the settled law of the land.”
Then again, you never know. As the Citizens United case later demonstrated, Roberts’ judicial modesty has limits. In his concurrence in that case, Roberts argued that the Court was perfectly justified in overturning its decisions “if adherence to a precedent actually impedes the stable and orderly adjudication of future cases”—when, for example, “the precedent’s validity is so hotly contested that it cannot reliably function as a basis for decision in future cases.”
As with most things in life, the pendulum swings both ways. But, I’m all in with the President’s prediction that the law will be upheld, since the price tag for repealing Obama Care would have an incontrovertible impact on the nation’s deficit of at least, a trillion dollars.
And how productive will that be?
MELISSA BYNES BROOKS is the editor of BrooksSleepReview. She is the Clinical Coordinator of Coral Springs Medical Center Sleep Disorders Center, accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, in Broward County, FL. She is a Registered Polysomnographic Technologist and Certified Respiratory Therapist with a B.S. in Respiratory Therapy from Florida A & M University and MBA from Nova Southeastern University. Contact information: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @Mlbbrooks