The presidential election may very well hinge on the Supremes. No, not Dianna Ross; the Supreme Court of the United States, which is currently hearing arguments on the constitutionality of President Obama’s signature legislation, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
I’m not a lawyer. I’ve never read the entire Constitution. I, like most Americans, just read the papers, troll the Internet for news and watch the talking heads on cable TV. So whatever my read is on PPACA, it’s a street kid, layman’s understanding. Here’s my simple take.
The first the big issue: It is constitutional to levy taxes with representation. The power to tax for the common welfare has never been in question, but it’s never been classified as a mandate either. If the Supreme Court see this as a power to tax issue, PPACA will become law.
The secondary issue: It is constitutional for the government to regulate interstate commerce. If the Supremes view the individual mandate as a natural extension of the government’s regulatory authority to control commerce, PPACA will become law.
However, that being said, the odds are that the majority opinion will not view this as a tax issue and will instead interpret the government’s intrusion into interstate commerce while also regulating it as an unfair competitor in the marketplace.