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June 28, 2012



Oh, no.

I'm drawing this from SCOTUSblog. They are still reading the decision, and say it's complicated. But for the moment, they say the mandate is okayed, as a "tax."

Roberts joined the liberals. The holding is apparently that it cannot be justified as a Commerce Clause power, but can be under the taxing power.

Medicaid expansion coercion limited but not thrown out. Again, via SCOTUSblog.

Further: The entire act is upheld, except for the Medicaid expansion, which is construed "narrowly." I assume that means they bless the law but signal to the executive they will impose limits in further adjudication.

Good Lord.

Roberts' vote saved the ACA -- so I guess 5-4 decisions are okay again.

Medicaid Limitation: Actually, they found for us on this, and yet the law still stands.

The majority opinion states:

TNothing in our opinion precludes Congress from offering funds under the ACA to expand the availability of health care, and requiring that states accepting such funds comply with the conditions on their use. What Congress is not free to do is to penalize States that choose not to participate in that new program by taking away their existing Medicaid funding.

So the federal government may now only offer extra money to encourage Medicaid expansion-- but may not take away funds (as the law was written) to penalize them if they don't.

This essentially makes Medicaid expansion voluntary.

Who Wrote It? Roberts, I believe, wrote the main opinion. When he wrote that the Commerce Clause could not support ObamaCare, he was joined by the four conservatives. The four liberals dissented on that point, claiming the Commerce Clause gives Ultimate Ninja Power. I believe that concurrence is written by Ginsberg. (Actually it would be a concurrence in part, dissent in part.)

The dissent is written by... Kennedy. Kennedy finds the whole thing must come down, and cannot be justified as a "tax." But he only has four votes for that.

Doctor Flaming Skull from Slublog.

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