Shortly after 10 am Eastern time today the fate of Obamacare will be announced.
I’m gonna go out on a limb and predict that SCOTUS will strike down the mandate as unconstitutional. That’s a death sentence even if they don’t throw out the rest of the Affordable Care Act.
I freely admit that I may be guilty of wishful thinking. I think Obamacare is a bad program and Congress needs to start over and do it right. Either way it will not be good for Obama.
There are a lot of opinions flying around about this topic, but like I said a long time ago there are only five opinions that count. Those five opinions belong to whoever makes up the majority of the Supreme Court decision.
Supreme Court justices serve as long as they want to. They can’t be fired, and though technically they can be impeached as a practical matter they are untouchable. We can’t even cut their pay.
They are literally a law unto themselves. They make their own rules and follow or ignore those rules as they please. They aren’t bound by precedent, and they have on more than one occasion reversed earlier rulings. The rules of ethics don’t apply to them.
They choose what cases they will hear and ignore the rest.
But they are, by far, the smallest branch of our federal government. They have no means of enforcing their rulings. Besides themselves they have only some clerks and administrative staff, as well as some bailiffs to protect them and keep order.
So why do we listen to them?
Tradition. Because the system works, mostly. Because nobody has come up with a better way.
Thomas Paine said, “In America the law is king.” Those nine black-robed justices are the king’s high priests. Or, as the late Justice Robert H. Jackson once said, “We are not final because we are infallible, but we are infallible only because we are final.”