A Victory for Obama - and for Roberts
The Supreme Court’s decision upholding the health-care law is not only a huge victory for President Obama, but also a moment of leadership for Chief Justice John Roberts. The court’s mixed verdict could create problems, notably in its weakening of the law’s Medicaid provisions in the name of states’ rights. While the impact of this part of the ruling is not fully clear yet, the court may have effectively denied health-care coverage to a large number of poorer Americans. But the headline victory for the law was of enormous importance to Obama. But if it was Obama’s day, the day also belonged to Roberts. This decision is not as clean and clear as it should have been. But by spearheading a plurality opinion that at least recognizes the power of Congress to legislate to solve an important social and economic problem, Roberts avoided the farther shoals of conservative ideology. He sought to avoid a direct confrontation with the executive and legislative branches.