The Obama administration has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the 11th Circuit case which found the Obamacare mandate to be unconstitutional.
There is no absolute right to appeal to the Supreme Court in this case; the Court decides which cases it will take. Dahlia Lithwick has a round up of various law-blogger views on why the administration took this route, and Lithwick thinks the Court may not take the case.
If the Court does accept the case for the 2011-2012 term, a decision by late June is likely. Right in time for the national conventions and the heart of the political season.
Retired Justice John Paul Stevens is urging the Court to take the case to provide clarity to voters in the election year.
From a purely political viewpoint, it is more important that the Supreme Court hear and decide the case prior to the 2012 election than it is which way the Court rules.
While of course throwing the mandate out is my strong (overwhelming) preference, politically for Republicans I don’t think it makes a huge difference which way the Court decides the case, as long as it decides the case prior to the 2012 election.
If the Supreme Court finds the mandate to be unconstitutional, it will deflate Obama’s presidency. In one fell swoop, the entirety of Obama’s agenda will come crashing down. It will be a political and personal humiliation.
If the Supreme Court upholds the mandate, Obama will be able to crow a little, but such a decision will leave the majority of people who hate the law with but one alternative: Throw Obama and Senate Democrats out in November 2012.
A pro-Obamacare ruling prior to the election will motivate the Republican base like nothing else, and will bring the independents along. If you thought the summer of 2009 was hot, just wait until the summer of 2012 if the only way for the nation to get out from under Obamacare is at the ballot box in November.
Legally, Republicans can lose in the Supreme Court on the Obamacare mandate. Policitally, Republicans cannot lose, so long as a decision is issued prior to the November 2012 election.