Some time this week, possibly today but more likely Wednesday or Thursday, the Supreme Court is expected to rule on whether or not Obamacare’s individual mandate is Constitutional. Most people, including most former Supreme Court law clerks, believe the Court will overturn the law. If they do, it would be a huge defeat for President Obama, a defeat that reporting from The Washington Post and New York Times suggests, could have been avoided.
The New York Timesreports:
In passing the law two years ago, Democrats entertained little doubt that it was constitutional. The White House held a conference call to tell reporters that any legal challenge, as one Obama aide put it, “will eventually fail and shouldn’t be given too much credence in the press.”
And a separate New York Times article makes it clear that the White House’s low opinion of the legal case against Obamacare came straight from the top:
As he awaits the decision, Mr. Obama has no more knowledge of or influence on it than any of the other lawyers handicapping the odds in Washington bars and boardrooms. The former law professor turned president is scathing about the argument that the mandate violates the Constitution, saying it has no merit whatsoever.
Despite the fact that he never took the legal argument against Obamacare seriously, The Washington Post reports that Obama personally took a lead role in developing legal strategy:
Obama, a former constitutional law instructor, and White House lawyers helped shape a legal strategy essentially portraying health care as a unique marketplace that Congress, under the Constitution’s interstate commerce clause, could regulate by imposing the requirement that consumers buy insurance before receiving treatment or pay a penalty.
Many liberals had criticized Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. for a halting performance during the oral arguments on the case in March. But while Verrilli took the lead in shaping the government’s case, the broader strategy being questioned in some circles stemmed from a close partnership between the solicitor general’s office and the White House — with the strategy securing Obama’s approval.
If Obamacare is struck down this week, Obama has no one to blame but himself.
Obama: Obama will campaign in Durham, New Hampshire, today, but CBS News reports that the town wants Obama for America to help pay the $30,000 in extra police and fire services.
Polls: A new AP poll shows that one-quarter of U.S. voters do not know who they will vote for in this year’s presidential election.
Around the Bigs
The New York Times, Named Egypt’s Winner, Islamist Makes History: Egypt’s military rulers on Sunday officially recognized Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood as the winner of Egypt’s first competitive presidential election, handing the Islamists both a symbolic triumph and a potent weapon in their struggle for power against the country’s top generals.
The Washington Post, For Obama, Supreme Court health-care, immigration rulings to close a tough term: In addition to the Obama administration’s anticipated defeats on health care and immigration, in a string of cases — as obscure as the federal government’s relationships with Indian tribes and as significant as enforcement of the Clean Water Act — the court rejected the administration’s legal arguments with lopsided votes and sometimes biting commentary.
The Wall Street Journal, City in California Nears Bankruptcy: Stockton, Calif., is set to declare bankruptcy as early as this week, according to local officials, a move that would make it one of the largest U.S. cities ever to file for reorganization.
Reuters, EU ministers urge restraint from Turkey over Syria incident: European Union foreign ministers called on Monday for a calm response after Turkey accused Syria of shooting down one of its military reconnaissance jets, saying they would increase pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
In the USA Today, law professor Jonathan Adler and Cato scholar Michael Cannon report that even if Obama prevails on Obamacare in the Supreme Court this week, citizens have already filed challenges to what critics call the law’s “death panel” and its impact on privacy rights, religious liberty and physician-owned hospitals.
The Wall Street Journal blames the recent big bank downgrades on Obama’s Dodd-Frank law.
AEI‘s James Pethokoukis refutes The Washington Post story purporting to show that Romney’s Bain Capital invested in offshoring companies.
Talking Points Memo‘s Brian Beutler reports that Democrats will have no united message if the Supreme Court strikes down Obamacare.
The Daily Beast‘s Michael Tomasky says Obama should “get mad” and attack the Supreme Court if it strikes down Obamacare.
Think Progress lists 10 Things You Would Miss About Obamacare.