"If the Supreme Court follows existing precedent, existing law, [the PPACA individual insurance mandate] should be upheld without a problem," Obama said in Minnesota during a town hall discussion. "If the Supreme Court does not follow existing law and precedent, then we'll have to manage that when it happens."Hopefully "managing that" will not include accusing the Supreme Court of not following existing law and precedent, as those accusations would be wildly incorrect. In any case the Supreme Court is not bound to follow existing law or precedent, the former if it's unconstitutional and the latter because it just doesn't have to. What it is bound to follow is the text of the Constitution, where Obama apparently believes "regulat[ing] commerce ... among the several States" means regulating the behavior of individual citizens who aren't even participating in the commerce.*
The mandate is good policy and makes perfect economic and rational sense. Unfortunately it's bad law and exceeds Congress's regulatory authority. Not to mention violating a first principle of American constitutional government: that the federal legislative department is designed with cognizable limits. It was a big mistake to rely on the Interstate Commerce Clause to justify this policy. But somehow somebody or other decided this was a gamble with decent odds.
The scenario unfolding toward the conclusion of the U.S. Supreme Court's next term in late June, 2012 — which more and more people are beginning to perceive, including even some liberals — presents Obama's worst nightmare, of which he has owned the majority share of credit:
Obama has championed the individual mandate as a major accomplishment of his presidency.He might want to stop doing that if he hasn't already.
Meanwhile, liberal denial remains firmly entrenched:
Orin Kerr, a George Washington University law professor, predicted Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kennedy both would likely end up voting to uphold the individual insurance mandate.And he's got to be hallucinating.
* All it takes is "mental activity," according to this court.