Far be it from me to be the voice that says that oral arguments are necessarily precursors of opinions to come. Reading the U.S. Supreme Court is a lot like reading tea leaves. What you see is often influenced by what you bring to the task.
This is particularly tricky for the Supreme Court, for they are, in truth, not bound by any precedent. Indeed, they are the makers of precedent for lower courts. Am I suggesting that the court is somehow above politics? Hardly. Of the half-dozen books I’ve read on the court, most have stated that the justices are intensely political, and have always been so. They are, after all, chosen, vetted and voted for (or against) by politicians, many of whom decide to support or oppose them based upon their political views and Ideology. And, far too often, one may predict how they will rule based on their party registration (or, often, the party of the President who names them to the Court). This factor informs any analysis of how they’ll come out on particularly controversial or political cases–like health care.
For conservatives, health care (the Affordable Healthcare Act) is target one. Derided by critics as “European-style Socialism”, “a government mandate”, “an attack on our freedoms”, and “shoving it down our throats”, they are determined to destroy it–in spite of the fact that it is the very manifestation of a similar plan promoted by the right-wing Heritage Foundation!
But, “Law,” the saying goes, “is but politics by other means.” The conservative and neo-con movements have set out to extinguish Obama’s signal presidential achievement: health care. Unless I miss my guess, the Supreme Court will abolish the law as repugnant to the constitution. And as I’m already out on a limb—I’ll go a few feet farther –the health care bill is declared unconstitutional: the vote? 5-to-4.
We shall see.