The Supreme Court have annouced they will hear another case on Obamacare and it’s constitutionality…not a surprise for those students who can remember what we have said about Roberts written decision from the first case – while he voted to uphold Obamacare, his decision laid out that he was neither a fan of it, nor thought it was actually constitutional on a whole bunch of other grounds. Now, we see it going to back to the Court on a different ground…
This is clearly great evidence for the political role of the Supreme Court – perhaps ‘politicians in robes’? Equally it shows the sheer power that these 9 unelected officials have in having the potential to overturn legislation that was passed by the two other elected, and therefore accountable, branches of government. It is also useful for the ideology of the Court – the MSNBC link (above) particularly focuses on the ideology of judges and in particular Roberts.
Equally, it is yet further evidence that we can use to show that the Roberts’ Court is an activist court. Many students (too many!) assume to be activist, a judge must be liberal. Remember, to be activist means to use your power for a desirable end…in the case of the Roberts Court many cases have been sought out in order to overturn previous liberal decisions – therefore both activist and conservative. This is yet further evidence of that and could be used to show, therefore, why activism is controversial (to say nothing of the fact that the Court usually are guided by ‘stare decisis’).
Importantly though, this is a fabulous example for federalism due to the topic of the case:
“The statute contains a passage that Obamacare opponents have seized on to argue otherwise: It says subsidies are available to people who buy insurance through an exchange “established by the State.” The problem is that some three dozen states never built their own exchanges, so the federal government did it for them. Obamacare opponents argue that in those states, there is no exchange “established by the State”; instead, there is an exchange established by the federal government.”