In a 5-4 decision authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, the Affordable Care Act has been upheld by the Supreme Court. The four conservatives justices (Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Anthony Kennedy) voted to strike the entire bill, while the four liberals (Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonja Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan) voted to uphold the law in its entirety.
That means it was Roberts' decision on the on the key provision of the bill, the individual mandate, that swung the case. While agreeing with the conservatives that the mandate was not allowed under the Commerce Clause, he did rule that the Congress' ability to tax gave it the right to impose a penalty on those who chose not to buy health insurance. Once that mandate was upheld, the rest of the law fell into place.
You can read out whole live blog below, which includes reactions from the President and Mitt Romney, as well links to some important analysis. You can also visit the Supreme Court website to download and read the 193-page ruling which includes Roberts' majority opinion, a concurring opinion from Justice Ginsburg, and a dissent signed by the four conservative justices.
12:25: One unproven theory on the ruling: Scalia's dissent was originally the majority opinion, before Roberts changed his mind.
12:23: The president closes the brief speech with his campaign slogan: "Keep Moving Forward."
12:20: "It should be pretty clear by now that I didn't do this because it was good politics. I did it because it was good for the country."
12:18: Obama: "People who can afford health insurance, should take the responsibility to buy health insurance." Obama admits he was against the mandate idea as a candidate, but changed his mind.
12:17: The president now reminds people about the benefits of the law for people who already have insurance: No lifetime limits, free lifetime care, adults under 26 can stay on parents' plan.
12:15: Obama: "No illness or accident should lead to any family's finanical ruin."
12:15: The President is live!
12:08: Marco Rubio says on CNN that today's ruling is "A loss for America."
12:01: CNN has issued a correction for inadvertently stating that the mandate was stuck down.
11:57: Romney keeps his remarks brief, but essentially says that Obamacare needs to go away because it's bad for the economy and he's the man to do it.
11:54: Romney: "Obamacare was bad policy yesterday and it's bad policy today. ... If we want to replace Obamacare we have to replace President Obama."
11:53: Mitt Romney is now speaking. He says that on his first day in office he will act to repeal Obamacare.
11:24: Here's some further explanation on the Medicaid ruling from SCOTUSblog.
11:17: Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor says the House will hold a vote on July 11 to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Since repeal has no chance of getting through the Senate, the vote will be entirely symbolic.
11:15: Mitt Romney will speak at 11:45 ET.
11:11: The President will deliver a statement from the White House at 12:15 ET.
11:05: Jake Tapper reminds us that in 2005, then-Senator Barack Obama voted against the confirmation of John Roberts to the Supreme Court.
10:48: For more analysis, here's a guide to the political spin taking place right now and here's a different take on the legal analysis of Roberts and who his groundbreaking decision will mean for the Court.
10:42: Here's the key sentence the led to CNN's confusion:
CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS concluded in Part III–A that the indi-vidual mandate is not a valid exercise of Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause. Pp. 16–30.
However, if they had kept readling they would have seen this:
CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to Part III–C, concluding that the individual mandate may beupheld as within Congress’s power under the Taxing Clause.
That's the most important sentence in the whole ruling. Four of the justices ruled that the entire law was valid under any formulation, but the mandate is valid because Roberts came to conclusion Number 2. It's really a split decision because Roberts and the four liberal justices reached the same verdict, but different logic. That's why Justice Ginsburg is delivering a different, but concurring opinion.
10:33: We now have a copy of the ruling and will read it now. You can read it yourself too. All 193 pages.
10:31: So here's quick recap of the four issues at stake:
1) Standing. The court gave a ruing, so obviously they agreed that the case could be heard by the courts.
2) The Mandate: The mandate is constitutional, not on the basis of the Commerce Clause, but on the basis of Congress power to raise taxes. The four liberal justice would have upheld it on the Commerce Clause alone, but Roberts provided the fifth vote on the tax issues, allowing the mandate to stand.
3) Severability: Because the mandate was upheld, there was no need to discuss the idea of breaking the law up into different constituent parts. So the whole thing remains in place.
4) Medicare expansion: The court ruled the expansion of Medicaid is allowed, but a provision of the expansion that would have penalized states that refused to participate in it is struck down. The way the law was written, states that wanted to keep the old version of Medicare, but not take part in the new expansion could have had ALL of their federal Medicaid funding taken away. The Court ruled that that's not allowed, and they can refuse to take part in the expansion without penalty.
10:15: The confusion seems to be that Roberts has said that the idea of a mandate is not legally allowed by the Commerce Clause, but it can be enforced as a tax, which is really what it is. Justice Roberts was the fifth and deciding vote.
10:13: Via SCOTUSblog: "The bottom line: the entire ACA is upheld, with the exception that the federal government's power to terminate states' Medicaid funds is narrowly read. "
10:09: We're still waiting for the actual details, but this appears to be a huge victory for President Obama.
10:08: There is some confusion (as expected), but it appears that mandate is constitutional. Justice Roberts is i the majority and presumably reading his opinon now.
10:07: The Health Care ruling is in. CNN says the mandate is struck down. Rueters says its upheld. SCOUTSBLOG says the mandate can exist as a tax
10:01: The Stolen Valor Act has been struck down on grounds that the statute violates the First Amendment. A 6-3 ruling. Justice Kennedy is reading the opinion.
10:00: The Justices have entered the court room.
9:58: The justices will be out any minute. The first ruling is expected to be on the "Stolen Valor Act," which made it a crime to falsely claim that you were awarded a military service medal.
9:51: Hundreds of people have gathered on the steps of the Supreme Court building to await the decision. Among the protesters stationed outside the Supreme Court building today are this guy in a Minuteman costume who has been march back and forth since dawn, and Belly Dancers for Single Payer.
9:44: More time to waste? A 1986 article by Alan Dershowitz about a rare leak a the Supreme Court.
9:43: The argument for an Obama victory, via The Week.
9:41: A brief reminder, courtesy of Lyle Denniston. The Court is hearing an appeal from the Eleventh Circuit Court, which ruled that a) the mandate is unconstitutional, b) the court had standing to review the law, and c) the rest of the law including d) the Medicaid expansion could stand. The Supreme Court's ruling with "affirm" or "reverse" each of those four rulings when it hands out its decision.
9:35 ET: The President has announced that he will speak to the nation shortly after the ruling is handed out. Presumably he has two speeches written.
While you wait for the Supremes to come forward, here's a some preview links that will help prepare your for the ruling:
- On Monday, John Hudson put together a good guide on how to follow the Court's decisions.
- New York magazine has a collection of pundit predictions, which are naturally all over the map.
- Fox News explains how no matter which side loses, they will automatically accuse the court of "judicial activism."
- Jonathan Cohn at The New Republic says the decision won't end the ongoing fight over health care and this particular bill.
- CNN/The New Yorker analyst Jeffery Toobin shows off one of the coveted seats in the chamber.
- If you need a few laughs, check out the Twitter hashtag, #otherSCOTUSdecisions
- Veteran Court analyst Lyle Denniston of SCOTUSblog explains how to make sense of the decision once it's handed down.
- Finally, online eyes (including ours) will be on SCOTUSBblog's live blog as even fellow Supreme Court journalists admit that they will likely be the first outfit to post the decision.
Keep checking for more updates as we build up to and learn the Court's decision.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.