Obama's " Love Child "
Obamacare is the love child of a forced marriage of ideas produced by
a partisanly divided and dysfunctional Congress that no one really
wants to completely defend.
It came about as a result of a
strained union of Democratic principles with Republican ideology, and
the end result is something that few will fully embrace. Even the
godfather of this health care concept, Mitt Romney, has run away from
his own prodigy. No wonder Obama is hard pressed, or at least
politically reticent, to defend his "signature achievement."
the kind of law nobody really wants to put a
signature on. Now that it is being seriously challenged before the
Supreme Court, the President seems to have gone into a full-blown
defense mode. It may be too late to save it, but it is still not too
late to defend it, and the principles for which it stands.
may be no public option, but there is a public mandate to buy private
insurance. That originally Republican idea seems to be what is now
bothering the law's detractors the most. It would appear that they were
for it before they were against it. There are some good things in it,
For instance, there will be a lot fewer freeloaders in the
system. College kids get to stay on their parents insurance longer,
which is good if they don't have a decent job. And the prohibition about
excluding people with pre-existing conditions is universally applauded.
problem with the defense of the act is, as the sometimes speechless and
stuttering Solicitor General Donald Verrilli demonstrated, it is hard
to defend. It is hard to explain, and it is hard to fully embrace what
is essentially a bastard-like concept.
In agreeing to hear this
case, the Supreme Court has created its own conundrum It is lamentable
that its constitutionally challenged core is being reviewed by a
conservative court that is contemptuous of compromise, and didactic in
its view of the central issues of the day. The court is as divided and
politicized as the country. At a time when we desperately need the sage
guidance of a strong and independent judicial umpire, we are left with a
bunch of biased referees whose calls are constantly being colored by
their own political predilections. They all seem to have become
By most legal accounts, its constitutional roots in
the Commerce Clause are firmly planted, unless you are a doubting
Thomas like Clarence and the company he keeps.
The current court
has exercised little, if any, judicial restraint when it comes to
deciding hot button issues. To wit: Bush vs. Gore, and Citizens United,
where the court deliberately weighed in on matters that hindsight may
have dictated they weigh out on.
The result has been a Supreme
Court that has lost its judicial lustre, and try as he may to button up
the more boisterous comments of his brethren, Chief Justice John Roberts
can't force the judicial genie back into its bottle. The curtain has
been drawn back, and the veil of impartiality has been ripped asunder,
and the justices have been disrobed by their own dogmatic doggerel.
former Justice John Paul Stevens opined in his Bush vs. Gore dissent,
"Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the
winner of the presidential election (of 2000), the identity of the loser
is perfectly clear. It is the nation's confidence in this court, as the
impartial guardian of the rule of law."
It would be an
understatement to say that the court's ruling will be of great interest
and of national import. Whether it chooses to avoid exercising the
ultimate veto of a partially flawed but much needed reform to our health
care system also will speak to this country's hopes for a future of
governance by law — and not just by politicians, who happen to wear
The whole country is waiting and watching.