by Jeremy Leaming
The White House need not look far in placing blame if the Supreme Court issues an unfavorable ruling on its signature domestic achievement, writes Simon Lazarus for The New Republic.
We’ll likely know Thursday whether the Obama administration’s landmark health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act, is invalidated or greatly hobbled by the Supreme Court. If that is the outcome, Lazarus, senior counsel to the Constitutional Accountability Center, writes that “leading Democrats” are primarily to blame for failing to defend the constitutionality of the law. They “didn’t even try,” he writes.
Quickly after the Republican politicos lodged lawsuits against the ACA, and in particular the law’s minimum coverage provision, right-wing activists and libertarians went about methodically convincing the pubic that their constitutional attacks were legitimate.
The Right’s legal arguments may have been “legally flimsy,” but they also lent themselves to easily “digestible sound-bites” that eventually helped move the public against the landmark law. The simplistic liberty based argument – if the federal government can mandate individuals to purchase a small amount of health care insurance, then its power is unlimited – was also seemingly adopted by Justice Antonin Scalia during oral arguments in the case.
But liberals’ failure to defend the constitutionality of the health care law was not a unique stumble, Lazarus says.