The Corner

Politics & Policy

The Obamacare Ruling

Robert VerBruggen is exactly right, below, about that Obamacare ruling in a federal court in Texas on Friday.

I’ve written about the case around here before, and this ruling hasn’t changed my view of it. You won’t find many people more opposed to Obamacare than I am, but the logic of the plaintiff states here (and all the more so the logic of the administration’s brief in the case) just doesn’t hold together, and Friday’s ruling only made that more clear.

Chief Justice Roberts’s 2012 ruling that the individual mandate is constitutionally sustainable as a tax was silly to begin with, but it is the ruling precedent. The idea that zeroing out the tax (which Congress did last year) thereby renders the now inoperative mandate unconstitutional is dubious but trivial—as the provision is inoperative anyway. But the notion that this inoperative mandate is actually necessary for the functioning of the rest of the system created by the statute—a notion that rests on applying the intent of the 2010 Congress over that of the 2017 Congress when considering the situation created by the 2017 Congress’s act of legislation—well that doesn’t even merit being called silly. It’s ridiculous.

If the ruling gets backed up with an actual enforceable injunction, it will surely be appealed. And it should, and probably will, get overturned on appeal.

Obamacare was terrible legislation that yielded terrible administration. But the answer to it can’t be terrible jurisprudence.

Yuval Levin is the director of social, cultural, and constitutional studies at the American Enterprise Institute and the editor of National Affairs.

Most Popular

Film & TV

Hillbilly Elegy: Ron Howard’s Inverted Mayberry

Hollywood knows two registers when it comes to the white working class (WWC): sentimentalizing and condescending. WWCs are either cute, neighborly, and folksy, or they constitute a tawdry, alien life form. There are 130 million WWCs in our country, and yet nobody in Hollywood has the slightest grasp of them. With ... Read More
Film & TV

Hillbilly Elegy: Ron Howard’s Inverted Mayberry

Hollywood knows two registers when it comes to the white working class (WWC): sentimentalizing and condescending. WWCs are either cute, neighborly, and folksy, or they constitute a tawdry, alien life form. There are 130 million WWCs in our country, and yet nobody in Hollywood has the slightest grasp of them. With ... Read More

The Rural Way

Almost every national Election Night reveals the same old red/blue map. The country geographically is a sea of red. The coasts and small areas along the southern border and around the Great Lakes remain blue atolls. Yet when the maps are recalibrated for population rather than area, the blue areas blow up, ... Read More

The Rural Way

Almost every national Election Night reveals the same old red/blue map. The country geographically is a sea of red. The coasts and small areas along the southern border and around the Great Lakes remain blue atolls. Yet when the maps are recalibrated for population rather than area, the blue areas blow up, ... Read More
Books

Jordan Peterson v. the Publishing Mob

Staff at Penguin Random House Canada have “confronted management” about the decision to publish Jordan Peterson’s book in an “emotional town hall,” Vice reports. Peterson’s Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life will be released in March 2021. Apparently, one “junior employee who is a member of the ... Read More
Books

Jordan Peterson v. the Publishing Mob

Staff at Penguin Random House Canada have “confronted management” about the decision to publish Jordan Peterson’s book in an “emotional town hall,” Vice reports. Peterson’s Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life will be released in March 2021. Apparently, one “junior employee who is a member of the ... Read More
Elections

To ‘Steal’ an Election

Dan has a good article on the homepage, the main point of which is that the system worked, since Trump’s efforts to reverse the election failed. Certainly I agree with him about that. But he also finds charges that Trump tried to “steal” the election “overheated.” Since I made such a claim myself, I ... Read More
Elections

To ‘Steal’ an Election

Dan has a good article on the homepage, the main point of which is that the system worked, since Trump’s efforts to reverse the election failed. Certainly I agree with him about that. But he also finds charges that Trump tried to “steal” the election “overheated.” Since I made such a claim myself, I ... Read More