The opinion Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in connection with NFIB vs. Sebelius (Case Number 11-393) is well-written, but Roberts’ opinion and his colleagues’ concurring and dissenting opinions take up a total of 193 PDF pages.
We’ve tried to speed up the process of going through the ruling by creating this version with some of the more interesting portions highlighted in yellow.
The highlighted portions cover matters such as why the individual health insurance ownership penalty included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) is a tax for purposes of deciding whether Congress can require taxpayers to make the payment but not for the purpose of applying the Anti-Injunction Act.
Here’s a list of what we think are portions of special interest.
Page 1 — The Supreme Court itself provides a header putting how it sees the case in a nutshell.
Pages 2-6 — The court explains who decided what and wrote what.
Page 8 — A statement that the court is looking at constitutionality, not the merits of the law.
Pages 10-12 — Roberts discusses the constitutional powers that are involved in the case.
Page 16 — An explanation of the PPACA Medicaid expansion provisions.
Page 17 — The Anti-Injunction Act.
Page 18 — Congress’s decision to label the PPACA individual mandate payment a “penalty” rather than a “tax.”
Page 19 — Why the PPACA individual mandate penalty is not a tax for purposes of applying the Anti-Injunction Act.
Page 21 — The Anti-Injunction Act does not apply.
Page 22-23 — How Roberts sees the PPACA guaranteed-issue, community rating and individual mandate provisions.
Page 24 — Roberts thinks Ginsburg’s examples of the government requiring people to buy products such as firearms are irrelevant because they don’t involve the Commerce Clause.
Page 28 — The government’s Commerce Clause logic would let it make us buy any product.
Page 29 — Why Congress imposed the mandate.
Page 30 — Are the uninsured automatically active in the market?
Page 32 – “Active in the market.”
Page 33 — When viewed from the perspective of the Commerce Clause, the PPACA individual mandate forces individuals into commerce.
Page 35-36 – The Necessary and Proper Clause of the Constitution.
Page 37 — Congress has the authority to “lay and collect Taxes.”
Page 38 — Is it “fairly possible” to save PPACA by defining the PPACA individual health mandate payment as a tax?
Page 39 — How do we decide what the PPACA individual health mandate payment is?
Page 41 — What is the PPACA “shared responsibility payment”?
Page 43 — Imposing a tax on an activity does not make it illegal. Plus: an “outlaw” quote.
Page 47-49 What kind of tax could the PPACA individual mandate penalty be?
Page 50 — Roberts: The PPACA individual mandate penalty is a tax.
Page 51 — The states’ arguments about the PPACA Medicaid expansion provisions.
Page 54 — The Spending Clause of the Constitution and states’ rights.
Page 59 — What Roberts thinks is wrong with the PPACA Medicaid expansion provisions.
Page 61 — What Congress can and can’t do to get states to change Medicaid programs.
Page 63 — Roberts: We’re not using questions about severability to kill PPACA.
Page 65 — Robert says the court has no opinion about the wisdom of what’s in PPACA.
Page 190 — The heart of the dissent.