In a stunning decision, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of President Barack’s Obama’s controversial Patient Affordable Care Act.
Coming into Thursday morning, most legal analysts predicted that the long-awaited ruling would ultimately strike down some, most or all of the President’s signature achievement. That’s not what wound up happening, though. The powers that be determined that government may in fact impose tax penalties on individuals who don’t have health insurance.
The ruling, which came via a 5-4 decision (the four dissenters were Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas and Alito), essentially boils down to this distinction: while an individual mandate technically isn’t constitutional, the requirement that Americans buy health insurance or face a minor financial consequence is constitutional if it’s viewed as a tax.
As expected, this all came down to how you wanted to interpret the “mandate” or “tax."
In the end, surprisingly enough, it was Chief Justice Roberts who gave the winning side a majority.
Entering Thursday morning, because of Chief Justice Roberts’ conservative roots, most figured that the only way a 5-4 vote for the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act would be possible would be if Justice Kennedy sided with the liberals.
This ruling will be dissected in detail throughout the day but, for now, there is no way to view this other than a clear-cut victory for President Obama.