Real popular bill there, Senator.
Today’s the day.
10 AM EDT is when SCOTUS starts to do its thing.
But it’s quite possible that the law will be upheld, instead — as Ann Althouse said last week, there are good arguments on each side.
Some precedents lead one towards declaring the mandate constitutional; taking a step back and looking at the constitution as a whole leads one towards declaring it ultra vires.
In a very real sense, this is a case of first impression — do the enumerated powers of the United States Congress allow it to require one to buy a service? (Well, some of them do. The Militia Power allows the Congress to require one to buy a rifle. But this is a Commerce Clause case.)
This will be an interesting day, either way.
More to come later on this post…
Update, 10:25 AM EDT: So, the right held together on the Commerce Clause reading, but the mandate is saved as an exercise of the taxation authority.
Chief Justice Roberts got together with the four liberal justices to uphold ObamaCare on that basis.
Fascinating, absolutely fascinating.
Very Supreme Court of Canada-like move.
Update, 10:45 AM EDT: Here’s the full judgment.
Final update, noon: If it’s a tax, it can be taken out by reconciliation with fifty votes in the Senate.
Politically, the GOP has a red-meat issue & a plausible path to repeal with 50 votes in the Senate & the presidency.
That’s not nothing. It’s not much today, but it’s not nothing. And SCOTUS did put real limits on the federal commerce power.
My take on this morning can be seen in video.
Children of the 1980s will understand.
Coda: Watch President Obama lie to the American people.
That’s the subject of Paul Wells’s latest.
Stephen Harper doesn’t announce many of his most important meetings. He routinely meets one-on-one with provincial premiers without either party mentioning the encounters to reporters. And from Stephanie Levitz at Canadian Press comes news that he met Brian Mulroney and, separately, Jean Charest last week. …
Harper’s tiny Quebec caucus makes as many brave noises as it can, but I know the prime minister is spooked by the prospect (not the guarantee, because of course there is none, but the non-negligible possibility) of a Parti Québécois government returning to power within 15 weeks.
Various branches of the federal government have quietly been discussing possible responses to a PQ victory. During the recent French election, one of Harper’s main concerns was PQ claims that François Hollande would rekindle a cozy relationship between French Socialists and Quebec separatists. (Polarity on that file has switched a few times over the years. De Gaulle was no Socialist and François Mitterrand, who was, was no fan of the PQ. But Jacques Chirac astonished everyone by becoming a good friend of Jean Chrétien’s, and Nicolas Sarkozy was so tight with the Desmarais clan that the PQ is coming off the chilliest five years it’s ever known in France. So the PQ has been hoping a Hollande victory would bring a thaw.) I’m told Harper was greatly reassured by his first long conversation with Hollande, at Camp David last month. But France’s attitude was always going to be peripheral. Hollande doesn’t get a vote. …
As for Harper: try this thought experiment. Imagine Albertans taking it into their heads to do something, and Tom Mulcair trying to talk them out of it. That’s a decent proxy for Harper’s clout in Quebec: the NDP share of the popular vote in Alberta last May and the Conservatives’ in Quebec were nearly the same.
So if Pauline Marois became premier and decided to try her luck, she’d face a worn-out Jean Charest with no young Jean Charest to back him up; and a Prime Minister with half the seats and voter appeal that Jean Chrétien had when he nearly lost the 1995 referendum. What’s that leave?
Why, Tom Mulcair. By some measures, the most popular politician in Quebec. A few New Democrats were already crowing Friday evening on Twitter at the prospect of Mulcair emerging as Captain Canada in some new confrontation. And that would indeed be fun. But early on, his stance on the Clarity Act and the NDP’s Sherbrooke Declaration would get noticed by the 64% of 2011 NDP voters who live outside Quebec. … Mulcair … would watch his party snap like a twig. …
[If Marois] wins an election and then gets bold or reckless, Harper won’t have much of a political hand. He will have the Clarity Act, the Constitution and customary international law, all of which break decidedly in favour of a united Canada. But those are all handy guides for steering through a hell of a political mess. Once you need them, you’re already in the mess. No wonder Harper is renewing strategic acquaintances.
I say this: for all the complaining one hears, French is very well protected and, that being so, Quebeckers like being in Canada.
The only way that province is leaving is if the rest of the country gets together and holds a referendum on kicking them out.
The Conservatives DO need to buck up in Quebec, but that’s because a second majority is hard at the current levels of Quebec support. It took winning the rest of Canada in a Mulroney 1984 fashion to get the first one, and you can’t count on that particular bolt of lightning striking twice.
Update: Other comment — all these regionalist bleats are paper tigers. Same goes for “Western alienation”.
Now that they’ve seen that (1) there can be a Western Canada-based leader and party elected to government, and (2) the piece-meal dismantling of traditional Canadian symbols that they disliked has been pushed back against (hello, Royal Canadian Air Force!), there really aren’t that many real complaints.
Yes, there are bad policies — equalization, for one. But those are best dealt with through the political process.
Here at the G20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, European leaders are making the claim that the credibility of the G20 is at stake if G20 members don’t step and kick in to a US$430 billion International Monetary Fund to help Europe sort out its fiscal crisis. So far, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said Canada will not contribute to such a fund. He believes that Europe has enough financial firepower of its own to deal with the euro crisis.
This morning, European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy held a press conference to make that claim — that they expect the G20, including Canada, to do its part to help Europe out of its mess.
During the question period, I put this question to those two gentlemen:
Why should North Americans risk their assets to help the largest and one of the wealthiest economic areas in the world? Shouldn’t IMF resources be used to help out developing countries and not the richest economic area in the world? What do you make of Prime Minister Harper’s contention that Europe has enough financial firepower on its own to deal with this crisis? …
Barroso: … By the way, this crisis was not originated in Europe. Since you mentioned North America, this crisis was originated in North America. And many of our financial sector were contaminated by – how can I put it? – unorthodox practice by some sectors of the financial market. But we are not putting the blame on our partners. What we are saying is let’s work together when we have a problem like the one we have today.
So, what’s going on at Queen’s Park?
Well, let’s assume public polls are similar to party internals. That gives us:
The Forum Research poll found 44 per cent would point the finger at McGuinty for causing a vote costing taxpayers $150 million and coming nine months after the Oct. 6 election.
But 23 per cent blamed Horwath, whose party reached a deal with the premier on April 23 to allow a budget motion to pass — and the government to survive — then last week removed key sections of the 327-page budget bill at the finance committee with the complicit Tories.
Only 14 per cent said it’s PC Leader Tim Hudak’s fault if politicians are back on the hustings although he remains the least personally popular of the major party leaders. …
Using interactive voice-response telephone calls, Forum polled 1,098 people on Friday. The survey is considered accurate to within 2.96 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. …
Overall, the Tories lead with 38 per cent to 30 per cent for the NDP and 28 per cent for the Liberals.
However, Bozinoff, noting Hudak squandered a 15 percentage point lead this time last year, cautioned against reading too much into those results because support for the Conservatives may be soft.
“Until an election is called, these votes are just parked,” he said.
There is potential good news in the survey for the premier, who had majority governments after the 2003 and 2007 elections before dropping to a minority last fall.
With 50 per cent saying Ontario needs a majority at Queen’s Park in order to be effectively governed — compared with 40 per cent who disagree — voters are seeking stability.
All right. So.
The NDP thinks they can force the Liberals to accept less than half a loaf — more of a third-loaf or a quarter-loaf — because McGuinty’s party is polling in third.
The Liberals think they can run a campaign for a “strong, stable Liberal majority”.
The PCs think that since they could well lose that Kitchener-Waterloo by-election, they’re not going to be the ones to pull McGuinty’s chestnuts out of the fire here.
Does that add up to a snap vote? Looking at what each party thinks its self-interest is, it just might.
Update: Steve Paikin makes similar calculations.
Opposition members voted down a budget schedule today in defiance of Premier Dalton McGuinty’s weekend warning to New Democrats to stop making major changes to his government’s budget.
The finance committee was voting on four budget schedules on Monday, which would change arbitration for firefighters, police, Toronto Transit Commission staff and essential hospital staff.
However, the New Democrats and Progressive Conservatives on the committee on Monday afternoon voted down Schedule 22, which would have changed the rules on contract arbitration for firefighters. …
McGuinty wanted Horwath to promise — in writing — not to cut more sections out of the budget and to put back the parts her MPPs already removed.
Horwath said Monday she had sent a letter to McGuinty outlining her new position.
Finance Minister Dwight Duncan responded a few hours later, accusing the NDP leader of confirming “in writing, that she has no intention of keeping her word.”
“I will continue monitoring the developments at committee closely. If the intent of any budget schedule is reversed or a schedule itself is blocked, I will have no choice but to request the premier to review all options.”
Most tellingly, she touched upon the key question that I believe the Court is still working through: what to do with the law if the individual mandate is indeed found to be unconstitutional.
My sources (which I freely admit to be third-hand) suggest that Kennedy will side with the conservatives and strike down the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that nearly every American must buy health insurance. The key question is: how much of the rest of the law should be struck down along with it? …
My understanding—again, from third-hand sources—is that this question of severability is the subject of intense debate among the justices, even now. It’s entirely unclear whether the Court will strike down the mandate and two related provisions—what I’ve called the “strike three” scenario; or take down the entirety of Title I, where the law’s restructuring of the private insurance market resides; or overturn the whole law. Indeed, it is probable that the Court has not yet decided how it will rule on this question. …
If you’ve been following my writing on the Obamacare legal challenges, you know that a pet peeve of mine is the 1942 Supreme Court caseWickard v. Filburn, in which the Court decided that Roscoe Filburn couldn’t grow wheat on his own land to feed his own animals, because this somehow constituted interstate commerce. Wickard remains the core justification for 70 years of federal intrusion into the activities of individuals and localities. …
The bottom line is that if Scalia [now] thinks Wickard was wrongly decided, he’s almost certain to vote to overturn the mandate. This isn’t a surprise based on his commentary at oral argument, but it may shed light into the thinking of Justices Alito and Roberts, who are thought to share Scalia’s precedent-oriented approach to dealing with the Commerce Clause.
Well, we’ll see.
So, crushing austerity and the Euro, or total default and a new currency?
I think that’s the real choice facing Greece.
There’s also news from France, which popped up on the Greek election livestreams.
19.05 It’s become a sideshow to the Greek election, but France’s Socialists have won control of parliament. That gives Francois Hollande a convincing majority with which he can push through his tax-and-spend agenda.
1903: Election news from another eurozone state: Francois Hollande’s Socialist Party have won an absolute majority in the lower house of parliament, on the basis of exit polls. This should strengthen Mr Hollande’s hand in pushing for growth action in the EU.
One man’s meat is another man’s poison.
I’d forgotten that Sunday is election day in Greece.
One interesting thing: here’s a Greek economist on why he’s backing (and advising) Syriza.
And Germany is telling Greece it can’t change the bailout terms.
Mind you, I think the economist, Yanis Varousfakis, has a point: Greece CAN just say, we’re not taking the money and we’re not making the payments. Greece already did an 80% default — it can do a 100% one…
Do I go too far to read that from this?
She then explained– with a dollop of humor– the four issues the court was considering, including the main focus: the constitutionality of the individual mandate, which would require nearly all Americans to buy health insurance starting in 2014 or face a financial penalty.
“If the individual mandate, requiring the purchase of insurance or the payment of a penalty, if that is unconstitutional, must the entire act fall?” she said, then outlining another key question. “Or, may the mandate be chopped, like a head of broccoli, from the rest of the act?“
Because, you know, that’s an entirely moot question if the individual mandate is upheld.