Today the Supreme Court upheld in a 5-4 decision, the Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare." For many on the right this comes, no doubt, as a shock; Republican leaders and politicians have spent the last month laying the groundwork for an assault on the President as "do nothing" and ineffectual based upon the assumption that the law would be overturned.
We told you so.
By "we" I don't mean "the left," though liberals have been among the bill's few defenders in the public sphere. I mean political pundits, prognosticators, and analysists who look critically and with clear eyes at political realities on the ground in Washington.
As much hand wringing went into this decision, the Court had little choice and Justice Roberts proved himself a least marginally more pragmatic than the ideological pretenders to judicial impartiality that are normally championed by the right. Overturning the PPACA would have sent the nation's healthcare system spinning into uncertainty and chaos. Overturning the mandate alone and leaving the rest of the bill as written would have doomed the health insurance industry to bankruptcy within the decade. Only by upholding the bill could the Court have even the slightest hope of preserving its own legitimacy.
And so the smart bet was on power seeking to maintain itself, because only in relegating itself to obsolescence and starting an unwinnable war against the Presidency could the Court move against Obamacare.
Those who called for such a move and those who presumed it have shown something about themselves which the rest of the nation really ought to note. They have declared themselves nihilists, accepting or (at the very least predicting) that loyalty to party and to ideology should matter far more than what benefits the people, the nation, or even the institution of government itself. We can and should count them among the worst kind of partisans: those who would sacrifice even justice itself in pursuit of a political end