The Supreme Court may rule today or Thursday on ObamaCare. We’ve gotten two strong hints that the individual mandate goes down. The first came by way of Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who back in mid-June discussed what sounded like the ongoing deliberations:
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?”
That brought laughter to the knowing crowd, since many critics warn giving Congress the power to force the mandate on people would be a “slippery slope” — and that lawmakers could then force people to buy broccoli in the name of ensuring a healthy populace.
A poll of former SCOTUS clerks finds that a majority expect the individual mandate to go down. By 57 to 35 percent, the former clerks now expect the mandate to get struck down, which is a 22-point swing from March, prior to six hours of oral arguments that the court entertained. Additionally, 79% of those clerks now see the individual mandate as either only partially severable or not severable from the rest of ObamaCare. If the justices see it the same way, striking down the mandate is more likely than not to mean striking down the entire law.
Maybe we’ll know later today, maybe we’ll know Thursday.
Update: SCOTUS handed down two rulings today, neither regarding ObamaCare. So Thursday it is.