A Look Back at a Dramatic Week at the Supreme Court

Friday, June 29, 2012

Demonstrators protest as they await a decision by the US Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the Affordable Healthcare Act. (Getty)

It’s been a dramatic week at the Supreme Court. At the start of the week, the Court ruled on the Arizona state legislature's controversial immigration law SB 1070upholding the "show me your papers" provision. It also ruled that mandatory sentences of life without parole for children under 17 were unconstitutional. Then on Thursday, it upheld most of the Affordable Health Care Act.

Gillian Metzger, professor at Columbia Law School, believes that the ruling on Arizona's immigration law was a victory for the federal government. "I think states and certainly state attorney generals as they look at that ruling may end up concluding that there isn't as much room there for states to experiment as may have initially been thought," the law professor says. 

Ilya Shapiro, senior fellow in Constitutional Studies and editor-in-chief of the Cato Supreme Court Review, calls the decision a "mixed bag of results," given that only one out of four provisions was ruled constitutional. What Metzger and Shapiro agree on is that the Supreme Court's ruling reinforces the need for the federal legislators to enact reform. "What the ultimate upshot of this is [is] that we have a broken immigration system, and real reform needs to come from Congress — not from either executive action like President Obama did two weeks ago, or state legislature," Shapiro says. 

The two also discussed the role of Chief Justice John Roberts in the ruling of the Affordable Care Act, and what the ruling could mean for his Court's legacy. "Certainly, this case, this opinion, was very much unequivocally the work of John Roberts," Shapiro says. However, it's too soon to tell whether or not Roberts will continue to be a swing vote. "I think you've got to wait til next term where we've got a lot of big ticket cases to see if this is a trend or a phenomena," Metzger says. She believes that the gravity of the case probably weighed heavily on Roberts' decision.

"What it does emphasize, however, is that it is, formally, the Roberts Court, and that means that if the Court had struck this down, it would have been the legacy of the Roberts Court," Metzger says. "I think that institutional role is something that the chief justice felt, and I think it does [explain] to some degree how he ended up voting." 

Both Metzger and Shapiro believe that the most significant and far-reaching decision rendered by the Court will be its upholding of the Affordable Care Act. "It signals important things, both about this legislation and about jurisprudence more broadly," Shapiro says. 

"Even if Obamacare is upheld, I think that larger things [such as] future legislation regarding social welfare regulation under the Commerce Clause, or even more importantly, this new, groundbreaking precedent regarding the Spending Clause and what strings Congress can attach onto federal funds, will have ramifications for many years to come."

Guests:

Professor Gillian Metzger and Ilya Shapiro

Produced by:

Robert Balint and Paul R. Smith

Comments [2]

Dave Francis from Indianapolis, IN


ILLEGAL ALIENS WILL BE ARRIVING HERE IN THE MILLIONS FOR FREE HEALTH CARE.

WE ARE ALL FOOLS, BECAUSE NOT ONLY DO WE MINDLESSLY HIRE THE SAME POLITICIANS EVERY TIME, BUT DO NOT CONTACT THEM ABOUT THE LAWS THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO UPHOLD. ONLY THE U.S. TEA PARTY WILL DO EXACTLY THAT. NOT THE BARACK OBAMA’S OR THE MITT ROMNEYS? GET YOUR HEADS OUT THE SAND?

HERE is a summary of the Constitutional TEA PARTY ideology, which from its inception has advocated a halt to illegal immigration that Democrats, Liberals or Republicans pay lip service too. Since the 1986 fraudulent amnesty illegal immigrants and migrants has poured into America, through a border that still remains porous. The television broadcasts of CNN, ABC and other stations always show the huge steel reinforced fences between Mexico and the United States. This is misleading as further along the demarcation between two countries, there is nothing more than a few thin strands of rusty barbed wire. Go to ‘AMERICAN PATROL, to be enlightened about the true length of the border fence and other details. For every Democrat, Liberal or Republican incumbent in office, we need to replace with an honest fresh face TEA PARTY leadership. We must stop President Obama’s ‘Tax and spend” epidemic or Mitt Romney potential to press for better advantages for Wall Street and financial institutions.

Just today with the stunning news the Supreme Court in supporting ObamaCare, could be yet another nail in America’s economic coffin. This is going to further encourage illegal alien absconders from poverty stricken countries, to bring their sick by international flight or through state borders ; people needing FREE treatment as an appendicitis to major surgeries, will arrive here and because of federal mandates American taxpayers will be further raped to pay for these unfunded mandates. Millions will try to slip through our Borders or fly into America, because of the Democrats and it’s financially in our laps.

Jun. 30 2012 03:35 PM
listener

A 5-4 decision against the healthcare law would have been "politically motivated" but a 5-4 decision upholding the healthcare law is not politically motivated?

Jun. 29 2012 10:43 AM

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