J. D. Heyes
March 31, 2012
(NaturalNews) As the U.S. Supreme Court decides the constitutionality of President Obama’s signature healthcare “reform” law, the American public, for the most part, has already decided it isn’t.
Granted, this online survey on the Washington Post website isn’t very scientific, but it does provide at least some measure of the law’s continuing unpopularity among the masses.
“The court should strike down the law. It is about personal accountability. The system has major flaws that need to be addressed. I think everyone can agree on that,” said one respondent, starlifter1271.
“Congress’s power to regulate markets cannot possibly mean the power to force any American, let alone every American, into any market, to become against their will a customer of some private concern as a condition of citizenship,” wrote PrairieCalm.
And so on.
Many questions from the court usually means bad news
Apparently, even a majority of Supreme Court justices agree. According to the Los Angeles Times this week, some of the comments made by many of them “bode ill” for the law.
“How well can Supreme Court votes be predicted by what justices say in oral arguments? The statistics hold up pretty well, and offer gloomy tidings for the Obama administration and its healthcare law,” the paper reported.
Simply adding up the number of comments justices make during oral arguments is a pretty good predictor of the outcome. For example, the paper said, researchers have found that the more often justices interrupt lawyers for one side of an argument or the other indicates trouble for that side.
A number of studies have examined the theory, including a study by USC (University of Southern California) law professor Lee Epstein, William M. Landes of the University of Chicago and Judge Richard A. Posner of the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Their examination was based on statistical analysis of Supreme Court oral arguments from 2004 through 2007. They found this: “The number of questions and the total words in question […] provide a reasonable predictor of most Justices’ votes,” with the notable exception of Justice Clarence Thomas, who rarely speaks during oral arguments.
Justices, in their own words, seem to support overturning the law
Also, comments by the justices themselves seem to indicate a repeal is likely. Justice Anthony Kennedy, generally considered the high court’s swing vote, appeared to favor repeal based on his comments during arguments earlier this week. In particular, Kennedy seemed troubled by the mandate in the law that requires you to purchase health insurance, or face a penalty. He said the requirement “changes the relationship of the federal government to the individual in a very fundamental way,” adding that the mandate was “concerning” and suggesting it might even be “unprecedented.”
Said the L.A. Times, in characterizing the verbiage and reaction of most of the justices, “Kennedy and (Chief Justice John) Roberts, along with fellow conservative Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel A. Alito Jr., repeatedly questioned where the limit on federal power would be if the mandate was upheld. Justice Clarence Thomas was silent, as is his habit, but is expected to vote to strike down the mandate.”
“If the government can do this, what else can it […] do?” asked Alito at one point, hinting that Congress could eventually require Americans to buy other things, like cars and broccoli.
Roberts suggested Congress may want to require Americans to purchase cell phones so they could be contacted in times of emergency.
Kennedy’s vote is being watched the most, and – based on his comments – it doesn’t look good for the administration.
“Kennedy, who is often the court’s swing vote, seemed to suggest that a mandate directed at individuals could be upheld only if the government offered an extremely powerful justification. And his comments from the bench raised considerable doubt about whether he thought the administration had met that test,” the L.A. Times said.
Sources for this article include: