First, At SCOTUSblog, Amy Howe summarizes Today’s health-care decision: In Plain English. Since I’m going to be pulling a lot of my other links from Balkinization, a legal blog that leans left, I’ll also point you to SCOTUSblog’s Friday round up, which covers both their own commentary on the case and commentary across the political spectrum at various other places.
Second, the decision itself. It’s called National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, in case you want to find it later, after you’ve lost track of this link.
For those of you who are wondering how Roberts figured the mandate to be a tax, I’m quoting the section at the beginning where he summarizes the reasoning for that finding (I already quoted this in the comments to our good blog master’s post on the ACA ruling, but I figure I’ll put the quote here as well.)
“Because “every reasonable construction must be resorted to, in order to save a statute from unconstitutionality,” Hooper v. California, 155
U. S. 648, 657, the question is whether it is “fairly possible” to interpret the mandate as imposing such a tax, Crowell v. Benson, 285
U. S. 22, 62. Pp. 31–32.
4. CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to Part III–C, concluding that the individual mandate may be upheld as within Congress’s power under the Taxing Clause. Pp. 33–
(a) The Affordable Care Act describes the “[s]hared responsibility payment” as a “penalty,” not a “tax.” That label is fatal to the application of the Anti-Injunction Act. It does not, however, control whether an exaction is within Congress’s power to tax. In answering that constitutional question, this Court follows a functional approach,“[d]isregarding the designation of the exaction, and viewing its substance and application.” United States v. Constantine, 296 U. S. 287,
294. Pp. 33–35.
(b) Such an analysis suggests that the shared responsibility payment may for constitutional purposes be considered a tax. The payment is not so high that there is really no choice but to buy health insurance; the payment is not limited to willful violations, as penalties for unlawful acts often are; and the payment is collected solely by the IRS through the normal means of taxation. Cf. Bailey v. Drexel Furniture Co., 259 U. S. 20, 36–37. None of this is to say that payment is not intended to induce the purchase of health insurance. But the mandate need not be read to declare that failing to do so is unlawful. Neither the Affordable Care Act nor any other law attaches negative legal consequences to not buying health insurance, beyond requiring a payment to the IRS. And Congress’s choice of language—stating that individuals “shall” obtain insurance or pay a “penalty”—does not require reading §5000A as punishing unlawful conduct. It may also be read as imposing a tax on those who go without insurance. See New York v. United States, 505 U. S. 144, 169–174. Pp. 35–40.”
The Supreme Court also has a separate section of their web site where you can see the whole docket of filings on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Cases (including NFIB v. Sebelius).
Here are a few of the ACA ruling related posts at Balkinization:
Guest blogger John Fabian Witt gives us The Secret History of the Chief Justice’s Obamacare Decision.
Deborah Pearlstein offers Early Thoughts on the Health Care Case (including speculation that the wording of Scalia’s and Ginsburg’s opinions suggests a last minute switch by Roberts).
Over at the Volokh Conspiracy (where bloggers are predictably less happy with the ruling than the Balkinization bloggers are), David Bernstein offers A Thought About Chief Justice Roberts and why he made this ruling.
Moving beyond Balkinization and the Volokh Conspiracy, and on to political bloggers, Matt Yglesias argues that John Roberts Saved America From Socialized Health Insurance.
… But the plaintiffs in the health care cases weren’t just asking the court to veto the law, they were asking the Supreme Court to declare the middle ground alternative to be now and forever impermissable.
If that had happened, liberals would have had no choice but to start campaigning for Medicare for all. Would they have gotten it? Not in 2013, that’s for sure. But the problem of health insurance wasn’t going to vanish no matter what Roberts did….
At the Economist, Matt Steinglass writes about Mandate Semantics.
… But just as the verdict wasn’t based on semantics, the underlying political dispute over universal health insurance isn’t resolved by the judgment that the mandate is constitutional because it can be construed as a tax. That dispute runs much deeper. The argument over Obamacare wasn’t and isn’t, at root, about whether or not the federal government can order people to buy something, as opposed to taxing them and buying it for them….
You can express the fundamental argument here several ways. At one level, it is an argument between people who are most concerned about moral hazard, on the one side, and people who are most concerned about minimising arbitrary individual risk, on the other….
The celebration among Republican legislators (briefly, based on mistaken reporting from CNN and Fox) over the ACA’s supposed overturning. (Incidentally, this one links to a handy site, useful for tracking Republicans and Democrats alike, that preserves tweets that politicians have deleted. Some of them are oddly mundane and unembarrassing, but others may be more entertaining.)