The pressure of the continuing countdown to Monday, March 26, when the Supreme Court takes on the challenge to ObamaCare, has forced legal advisors to the White House to change their strategy in hopes of successfully rebuffing it and preserving the Obama administration’s key legislative victory signed into law in March, 2010.
It’s all about the mandate and whether it can be sustained by claiming justification for it under a generous reading of the Commerce Clause (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3) in the Constitution. Without that mandate, the administration claims that the rest of the law would necessarily fail due to its excessive costs. The Congressional Budget Office just reported that those costs would be double what the Obama administration touted in its cram-down of the law two years ago. And another CBO study said that, if implemented, millions of citizens—between 3 million and 20 million—would actually lose their present coverage, while public polls continue to show declining support for the whole idea of the federal government’s virtual takeover of the country’s health delivery system.
An ABC News/Washington Post poll taken in January showed that most of those polled think that ObamaCare, if implemented, will cost jobs, hurt the economy, and cost more than projected. Last week’s poll from the same source showed that two-thirds of those polled “say the U.S. Supreme Court should throw out either the individual mandate…or the law in its entirety.” According to the pollsters, “[T]he law has never earned majority support in ABC/Post polls—and this update…finds a strong sense its critics are dominating the debate. Seventy percent of Americans report hearing mainly negative things about the law…”
Another measure of the intensity surrounding the pending Supreme Court hearings (a record six hours are scheduled over three days next week) is the number of “amicus” or “friend of the court” briefs that have been submitted by parties who are interested in influencing the outcome of a lawsuit but who are not parties to it. Reuters reported that 136 briefs have been filed with the court (a stack about two feet high), a third more than