High Court has key to health care future

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The U.S. Supreme Court is back in the hot seat again.

Ever since George W. Bush became president courtesy of a High Court ruling, the Dignified Dozen has been viewed by many of the citizens they serve as something less than impartial.

Now, after the ruling by U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson, a Republican and Reagan appointee, that the “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” was unconstitutional, the very fate of President Obama’s marquee accomplishment rests on the whims of the Supreme Court.

The use of the word “whim” in reference to judicial decisions might seem a bit harsh, but with this court, the Roberts Court, it fits.

This is the court that had the audacity to grant personhood to corporations in a complete and unassailable way in its ruling on Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission. The ruling, when reduced to its simplest form, basically said money is speech, and as persons, corporations have a right to speak as loudly as they please when it comes to backing political issues.

In other words, he who has the most cash has the most influence in who runs the nation or a state and in how they run it. Never mind that there are tens of millions of citizens who might be hurt by that influence, or that foreign countries can have a say in it.

Money is more important than people, the Roberts Court ruled. Or, at least, strongly appeared to have ruled. When Bush appointed Roberts as chief justice the Court took an abrupt right turn, and that says a lot, considering that it was under Chief Justice Williams Rehnquist that the Supreme Court in effect appointed Bush as president of the United States in the Bush v. Gore ruling.

Already voices on the left and right are positioning themselves for the fight that is predicted to take place in mid-2012, when Obama will be running for re-election.

A Florida jurist, Vinson basically ruled that the individual mandate is too invasive on individual rights and that if one could be forced by the federal government to buy health insurance, then one could be forced to buy certain clothes or food, as a TV commercial (undoubtedly paid for by a well-funded corporate backer of conservatives, thanks to the Citizens United ruling) which is currently running with regularity, points out.

The case bundled repeal lawsuits from 26 states, all but Louisiana having GOP attorneys general, and came on the heels of a ruling by U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson of Virginia that only the individual mandate was unconstitutional.

After the tirades at town hall meetings, blatant lies about death panels and the hiring of thousands of new IRS agents to harass citizens about health-care tax deductions failed to stop the reform bill, this current judicial effort has with it the stench of politics.

How this turns out is impossible to predict. Both sides are saying with questionable certainty that we will or will not have complete health-care reform by 2014.

It is for this reason, this clash of wills about who deserves health care and who doesn’t, that Obama supporters, whether they are disappointed in him or not, must re-elect him.

The next Supreme Court opening is certain to come up in the next presidential term.

(Reprinted from the Philadelphia Tribune.)

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