This continues our series of posts on the various constitutional challenges to the individual mandate, by Tony Cardona, an attorney who is doing some work with New America's health policy program. Read his post about the Commerce Clause here.
The President stares out the windows of the Oval Office into a cold January. He can do nothing but wait; it’s now up to the courts. Overwhelmed by a divided Congress and high unemployment, the President looks on as the agenda he muscled through Congress with political savvy is debated and challenged. Meanwhile, the economy washes slowly and tepidly forward, seemingly on the verge of receding back into the deep, dark water. The law suits begin to surface and the President’s agenda is attacked with concern at best and contempt at worst. Ultimately, it is brought before the Nine. These represent the final judgment not only for the law, but also, possibly, for the President. Everybody waits, not knowing whether Congress has exceeded its powers. Justice Roberts sits in his chamber and drafts his opinion, joined by six other justices. His decision rejects the new Act, declares it invasive of State sovereignty, and finds that Congress has no Constitutional authority to impose such a mandate on the populace. The law is a failure. The President sits down, wondering whether his moment has passed.