YOU WANT A PREDICTION? I'LL GIVE YOU A DAMN PREDICTION
Tom Goldstein of SCOTUSblog predicts the mandate will be overturned -- and even though he's an expert and I'm a non-lawyer ignoramus, I'm not going to change my prediction that the mandate but not the entire health care law will be overturned, which I was predicting before oral arguments, back when all the smart people said that an overturn of the mandate was a near-impossibility. As I've said, a partial overturn is intended to do the maximum damage to Obama and Democrats, in November and beyond (it preserves the law as a rallying point for base voters, then makes implementation more difficult and expensive if Obama wins). So there you go.
I'll add one more prediction -- it's a wild surmise on my part, and since I know bugger-all about how these things work, it probably doesn't even jibe with proper Court procedure. But here goes.
I'm predicting a separate concurrence -- joined by some or all of the Court's Wingnut Four, written by Scalia, and read by him from the bench in his usual egomaniacal fashion -- in which it's argued that not only is the mandate unconstitutional, but the very reason supporters of the law give for its constitutionality, the fact that everyone eventually joins the health care market because you have to be treated at an emergency room if you're broke, is also unconstitutional.
In other words, even though nobody brought it up, I'm predicting that Scalia and a couple of the other wingnuts are going to say that state laws compelling us to pay for emergency room care of the indigent violate our constitutional rights, by requiring us to buy a commercial product (health care for others), and (Scalia will imply) it would be really, really nice if someone would bring a court challenge of those laws.
Just a crazy hunch. Would it really surprise you? If America continues to trend right, isn't that where our health care laws are eventually heading, one way or another?