Well how about that? John Roberts, the justice that George W. Bush appointed and elevated to Supreme Court Chief Justice, effectively just saved Obamacare. (For now!)
And Anthony Kennedy, the judge that most people were worried would go soft on this one, was the justice who ended up reading for the dissent. He formed part of a bloc of four justices who wanted to tear the whole edifice down. They would have done just that if the court’s purportedly conservative justices had held together.
What this ruling means is that politics survives. The court will continue to play its job as an only occasionally effective referee, but the efforts to repeal Obamacare are now firmly in the political arena. To beat Obamacare, you need to beat Obama and put a majority of Republicans in the Senate.
“But what about the filibuster?” some people are asking.
One thing I will confidently predict is that if you have a Republican president and a Republican majority and the Democrats move to block, the filibuster is toast. This is especially true because Democrats used an odd parliamentary maneuver called “reconciliation” to skirt Republican filibuster threats in the first place.
To get more updates on fallout from the Obamacare decision today, stop by The Mark-Up.