Obama and Romney speak after Supreme Court ruling

President Obama and Mitt Romney both made statements after the Supreme Court’s ruling earlier today on the President’s health care reform.

Here is Obama’s statement:

Here is Romney’s statement:

The health care law is going to be a big issue, to say the least, in the remaining four months of the presidential election campaign.

Supreme Court hands Obama big health care victory

U.S. Supreme Court today presented President Obama with an historic victory when it declared his health care reform constitutional.

The victory came with smallest possible majority, 5 votes to 4, and it came, highly sensationally, by the very conservative Chief Justice John Roberts upholding the law when he sided with the four liberal justices. Usually, the role as the swing vote is played by Justice Anthony Kennedy, but this time Kennedy went hard against health care law and joined Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas in the minority.

When the decision came down this morning, it quickly became clear that the major issue in the law– so-called individual mandate , i.e., that everyone must buy health insurance or pay a fine, was constitutional in that the mandate can be regarded as a kind of a tax, and Congress, of course, has the right to impose new taxes.

While the Democrats were jubilant, the Republicans, who were expecting a “no” from the Court, were deeply disappointed and the House Republican majority immediately declared to continue the fight to repeal the health care law. It remains to be seen how the Supreme Court’s decision will affect the presidential election in November, although the ruling seems to a big boost for Obama, and the Democrats, in general. A ‘no’ in the Supreme Court would have meant an enormous loss of prestige for Obama from which it would have been very difficult to recover.

The Supreme Court ruling is also a victory for America, the only major Western democracy without universal health coverage for its citizens. Obama’s health care reform does not institute universal coverage, but 30 million more American will now have health insurance so it constitutes a major step towards health insurance and health care for all Americans.

Here is the Supreme Court ruling with the warning that it is long, almost 200 pages!

Supreme Court decides fate of Obama’s health care reform

An expected decision in June by the U.S. Supreme Court will decide the fate of the Obama Administration’s health care reform, the Affordable Care Act.

All major issues in America in the end reach the country’s highest court. So the fact that the Supreme Court today decided to take the case was no surprise. The Obama Administration wanted it, wanted to have the final arbiter decide the law’s fate, and wanted certainty in order to move forward.

“We know the Affordable Care Act is constitutional and are confident the Supreme Court will agree,” said a White House statement.

But no one today dared to say with certainty what and how the nine justices on the Supreme Court will decide. In any case, a big battle is awaiting about the balance of power in the American political system, the extent of federal power, and the reach of Congress’ powers.

The June decision will come in the middle of the run-up to the presidential election in November. Whatever the outcome in the Supreme Court, its decision will be of great importance for the outcome of the election. A victory for reform, i.e., that it is consistent with the Constitution, will undoubtedly strengthen Obama and his chances in the election, while a victory for those who believe that reform violates the Constitution will be seen as a major setback for the president and greatly impair his re-election chances.

So much is at stake.

Lyle Denniston, veteran Supreme Court reporter, describes the thorny legal and constitutional problems on the SCOTUS blog and calls that which will now take place in the Supreme Court “an historic constitutional confrontation over federal power.”

The New York Times’ legal correspondent Adam Liptak wonders in today’s paper about how far the federal government’s power stretches and points to the many conflicting rulings in the lower courts that transcend all partisan political borders.

Obama’s health care reform gets encouraging support

America’s political system is unique in that many of its major issues are decided by the courts and often, ultimately, by the Supreme Court.

One of the biggest questions so far during President Obama’s two years in the White House has been his health care reform, to which the Republicans are strongly opposed. This highly, and most unfortunately, politicized issue now winds its way through the court system, ending up, most likely, with the nine in the Supreme Court.

The resistance to the law is based on its individual mandate, which opponents say is unconstitutional. In the lower courts so far, three judges, all Democrats, have said that the law is consistent with the Constitution while the other two, both Republicans, say the opposite.

This week, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, Ohio, handed the Obama Administration a narrow but unexpected and encouraging victory when it said that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is consistent with the Constitution. Although the three judge panel was not unanimous, reform advocates rejoiced in the fact that one of the two judges who gave the law its support was a highly respected conservative judge, appointed by President George W. Bush. It was the first time a federal judge, appointed by a Republican president, declared the law constitutional.

Two, perhaps three other federal appellate courts are expected to issue verdicts this year on the constitutionality of the health care law, and then, maybe, the Supreme Court will take the case.

It’s sad that it has had to come down to this for this law, which takes a giant step towards recognizing something with all other Western democracies have long recognized, that health care for all is a fundamental right of each citizen. Let’s hope it prevails over these frivolous challanges. The health care law is long overdue for America.