(RightWing.org) – Conservatives across America are in shock. Once again, the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of Obamacare. It wasn’t even close as all but two conservatives joined the liberals in the 7-2 decision. It’s the third attempt by conservatives to get the court to invalidate the law.
Before conservatives get too upset over the disappointment, there may be a very good reason why the court ruled the way it did, and you’re likely not going to find this line of thinking in many conservative circles. The court did not rule on the merits of whether Obamacare and the individual mandate are unconstitutional. Instead, the court said that 18 states and individual plaintiffs didn’t have standing. That’s an extremely important distinction in what the justices are saying and not saying.
What Is Standing?
Standing is a legal term that courts use to decide if a party bringing a lawsuit has a legitimate right to do so. It’s not about the issue. It’s about two things:
- Who’s bringing a lawsuit?
- Does the court have the authority to hear the case? Generally, the Supreme Court hears cases that are controversial and do not include political questions.
How does that apply to this ruling? In 2012, the US Supreme Court ruled that Obamacare was Constitutional. It settled the matter. At the heart of that case was the individual mandate. Fast forward to now, the court is saying it already decided the matter, and there is no controversy to clear up.
The issue is no longer a legal one, it’s a political one. Therefore, it’s up to Congress to change the law, not the courts.
Is There More to Consider?
There could be one other issue the court is grappling with, and it has to do with consistency. Over the last few years, five members of the court expressed support for the Nondelegation Doctrine. It holds that Congress cannot give away its responsibilities to the executive branch, who then can re-write cumbersome laws in the form of regulations.
In the end, it’s about the separation of powers. In much the same way as the Nondelegation Doctrine is about the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches, the court is trying to strike a balance of consistency. The court wants Congress to solve a political problem, and is declaring it will respect the separation of powers.
Why is that important?
It’s the very thing conservatives say they want the court to do. The court is actually acting in a conservative manner by punting it back to Congress for the reasons previously stated.
This is what a conservative court looks like, even though it’s not the outcome many conservatives wanted. In context, the court should be praised for its action in an overwhelming, decisive ruling.
Don Purdum, Independent Political Analyst
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