The Washington Post has reported that the Supreme Court will take up the question of the constitutionality of the Obama health-care law. This is unquestionably good news for conservatives and opponents of the law. First, there is the obvious point that if they didn’t take up the case, the challengers would be out of legal options. As long as the case is proceeding, there remains the real chance that the Supreme Court, which does have a 5–4 conservative — albeit unreliable — majority, can overturn it.
The fact that the oral arguments will be heard, and the court decision will be made, ahead of next November’s election is good news as well. If the Court overturns the individual mandate, such a decision will highlight the unconstitutional basis of the Obama law and bolster the political case for its full repeal. If the Court upholds the law, that would certainly be unfortunate, but it would also serve as a stark notification that an Obama win in 2012 could cement the health law in place for the foreseeable future. This closing of the option for judicial repeal would galvanize conservatives and all opponents of the law in advance of the 2012 election. Either way, today’s acceptance of the case by the Supreme Court allows the law’s opponents to continue the struggle for repeal and the eventual movement towards a workable kind of health reform.