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A Mandated Roundup

February 8, 2011 Politics-2011 No Comments

I’m not even going to pretend to have enough time to dive into all of these, individually. But since they do make for some pretty good reading on the current state of either health care reform or the commerce clause (however you decide to see it), I’d be the worst blogger in the world if I didn’t at least pass them on.

» NY Times: Doing the Judicial Math on Health Care (Adam Liptak)
» Tapped: The Mandate Alternative (Paul Waldman)
» NY Review of Books: Is Health Care Reform Unconstitutional? (David Cole)
» Post-Partisan: Give me liberty or give me health care (Charles Lane)
» The Plum Line: The flawed conservative case against the mandate (Greg Sargent)
» Ezra Klein: If not the insurance mandate, then what? (Derek Thompson)
» Ezra Klein: Courts are political, news at 11 (Dylan Matthews)
» Wonkbook: What the Vinson ruling means (Ezra Klein)

While there’s nothing in there to make me move from my opposition to an individual mandate, I still think there’s a high possibility of any constitutional ruling of it taking the commerce clause of the Constitution too far being very dangerous for a lot of other laws that rely on that clause.

Among all the reading on the topic, I do find it mildly amusing that there are still people willing to state that we just don’t know whether the Supreme Court will issue a 5-4 ruling or something with more consensus. Obviously, my marker is still on a 5-4 ruling, with the likeliest scenario that it would be 5-4 against (at minimum) the mandate. Interesting to see a lot of other folks coming to that conclusion.

Among the links, the NYRB article has a good comparison to the New Deal court that’s worth reading. One complaint I have with it is that I think the comparison made is a bit too broad. Cole alludes to the Court shifting from generally anti-New Deal rulings toward pro-New Deal rulings, but doesn’t highlight that it was fundamentally two specific changes that had much to do with it: Justice Owen Roberts changed much of how he was voting on the court (for whatever reasons you and/or history choose to believe) and the 1937 retirement of Justice Willis Van Devanter. In other words, the court didn’t simply “reverse course” … two very specific things happened that enabled the outcome of votes on the Court to end up. I don’t see much chance for similar specific changes happening to the court in a short amount of time.

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