It’s old news by now, but in case you missed it, the Supreme Court largely upheld the health care law.
In a somewhat unexpected move, Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the liberal justices to affirm the Affordable Care Act, saying the mandate was the same as a tax and thus, constitutional. But he sided with the conservatives—and gave them the five votes they needed—on an important part of the bill and said the law can only be withheld under existing tax authority, not with the commerce clause, as many Democrats had argued.
All in all, proponents of Obama’s health care law should consider today’s ruling a big win.
As expected, partisans flared as soon as the ruling was delivered. Mitt Romney decried the health care law as a job-killer that adds to the national debt and said, if elected, he would repeal it. Obama hailed the moment as a “victory for people all over this country whose lives will be more secure because of this law.”
The reactions of local pundits and politicians in the DMV similarly fell along these predictable partisan lines, albeit with different rhetoric (i.e. Virginia AG called it a “dark day for American liberty.”)
The Baltimore Sun editorial board weighed in and wrote:
The implications for the nation's health care system and for the American people are enormous. Had Chief Justice Roberts sided instead with the court's conservative wing, the entire act would have been thrown out — and with it, protections for Americans with chronic diseases and pre-existing conditions, the expansion of health insurance to millions who now lack it, and provisions to control the spiraling cost of health care in the United States. A rejection of the model for universal health care embodied in the Affordable Care Act would have left little other option besides a single-payer system, which is for the foreseeable future a political impossibility.
The Washington Times has a blog post about a three-day national gathering of the National Right to Life Committee in Crystal City that was interrupted by this morning’s decision.
Attendees at the three-day national gathering of the National Right to Life Committee in Crystal City crowded around television screens and followed news bulletins as the details of the court's 5-4 decision were relayed. Many participants described themselves as "stunned" and "disappointed" as the thrust of the decision became clear, and by the fact that Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. sided with the majority in upholding the law.
Asked what the organization will do now, committee Executive Director David O'Steen said: "Defeat Obama. Elect Romney. Repeal Obamacare."
Norman Leahy of Bearing Drift, a conservative blog covering Virginia politics, wrote:
“Like many conservatives who have followed this case, my initial reaction unprinatable…”
The time is now to move forward with all the parts of the Affordable Care Act. Whatever Mitt Romney or the Republicans say this will remain the law of the land and it will be seen many years from now as a good thing. The trials and tribulations of putting all the parts of this Act into effect will go on and the fights over the smaller issues around how to implement this policy will continue. But in the end the American people will feel more secure because they will know that their sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers will be able to get the healthcare they need.
The DCist has compiled local politicians' statements on the ruling. (Spoiler: they largely follow the same pattern of Democrats yay and Republicans nay.)
* Virginia’s request to authorize some state police troopers to perform functions of federal immigration officers has been denied, according to The Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Gov. McDonnell called the denial disappointing and said that it was “outrageous” that that a state would offer help in enforcing criminal matters and the federal government would refuse that aid.
McDonnell had asked the Department of Homeland Security in August 2010 to enter into an agreement with the state and envisioned troopers, according to the RTD, to use federal immigration enforcement powers in the case of major drug offenses and violent offenses.
* D.C. Chief Financial Officer Natwar Gandhi sailed through his D.C. Council confirmation hearing Thursday, according to The Post.
* CNN's twitter mess-up today (they said the health care law was struck down when, in fact, the opposite was true) is already being hailed as the Dewey defeats Truman flop of our generation. Washington City Paper jumped on the opportunity to see what would happen if CNN covered local D.C. news.