Human Exceptionalism

Predictions 2012: I Was Right, Alas

Each year the Center for Bioethics and Culture asks me to predict the future year in bioethics, and each year, I generally nail it.  Last year was one of my best.  And that’s too bad, because last year was overwhelmingly awful for good policy and ethics.

For example, I was really right about the Supreme Court Obamacare ruling–and not just the “what” but the “why:”  From, “Predictions 2012: I Was So Right:

“Prediction 2: Obamacare’s Individual Mandate Will Be Declared Constitutional:” I really nailed this one: The Supreme Court, in an utterly incoherent 5-4 decision, declared the ACA to constitutional. Why do I say “incoherent?”

  • First, Chief Justice John Roberts ruled that the individual mandate, requiring all to buy health insurance or face a penalty, was not a tax. That ruling allowed the case to proceed to ultimate resolution.

  • Then, he ruled the ACA violated the Commerce Clause by regulating economic inactivity. That should have been the ball game.

  • But in an act of audacious judicial activism, as if by magic, the “not a tax” was transformed back into a tax for purposes of finding the law valid.

  • Et viola: An unconstitutional law was able to be declared constitutional by being both not a tax and a tax at the same time. Like I said: incoherent.

I explained last year why the Court would protect the validity of the ACA regardless of the legal merits:

I believe the majority of the Supreme Court will rule that Obamacare’s purposes are laudable, that universal coverage is equitable and necessary for the country’s future, and that since the mandate is a necessary element of making the new law work, it is constitutional. That may sound like bootstrapping, but there it is.

And so it came to pass. I scare myself sometimes.

If you want to see what else I predicted, here is the link to the original article.  And if you want to see how I did overall, hit the link before the quote.


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