A couple of political science wonks pull out some charts today to try to predict what the Supreme Court will do about Obamacare:
As always, predictions are hard, especially about the future (see Berra v. Bohr) and especially when it isn’t clear which precedents apply or which legal doctrines are likely to dominate. Thus, any specific prediction must go beyond the model.
That said, here is ours: 6-3 or 7-2 to uphold the law.
Respect for precedent pushes Kennedy to support the law and Roberts comes along for the ride in order to keep the opinion out of Kennedy’s hands (and possibly writing an opinion that cabins the Commerce Clause more than it is now). Alito probably goes with Roberts, but seems more up for grabs. If we are wrong, expect the justices to either downplay precedent and emphasize other legal values (such as federalism) or play up the few precedents that protect state rights.
Policy motivations won’t be irrelevant, but score this one for law.
Hey, they stole that from me! But they have actual arguments to back themselves up. And a book. Check it out.