Healthcare revisited: more than legislation, people’s lives at stake in court

Apr. 11, 2012

Remember that health care bill from a couple years ago? It had Republicans up in arms? It was one of the first things President Obama did in office?

In case you hadn’t heard, Obama is in the middle of a lawsuit about the constitutionality of that healthcare act. Last week the United States Supreme Court listened to hours and hours of arguments for and against the affordable care act. The Justices then had a closed conference, deciding their vote, and now are writing the majority opinion and the dissent opinion. We should hear the outcome in June.

Many people expect at least a portion of the act to be struck down as unconstitutional. What surprised many legal scholars and law professors during the proceedings, however, was the eagerness in which several Justices went at the constitutionality of the issue.

This case, along with two others (Bush v Gore; and Citizens United) has frustrated many liberals and moderates, leading many to call the Justices “activist judges.”

The Threefold Advocate saw the Justices’ individual ideologies coming out during the health care hearings, and it is disheartening. The Justices have an enormous amount of power and need to be impartial. Their ideologies should not cloud their judgment.

Last week, the court’s conservatives, including Chief Justice Roberts, suggested they may well strike down President Obama’s health care law as unconstitutional. If so, it would be the first time since 1936 that the Supreme Court voided a major federal regulatory law.

That will set a problematic precedent with massive in consequences.

This substantial amount of power nine people hold should never be taken lightly. They have the ability to rule things constitutional or not, which is what is at stake. Restraint will be key to come to a fair and truly just ruling.

If the majority rules that President Obama’s health care act is unconstitutional, The Threefold Advocate hopes that is because the majority truly sees the constitutionality of the issue. It would be a shame to the Constitution if these Justices ruled against the act simply because it did not fit with their ideologies.

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