Who knows what the Court will do with the Affordable Care Act. But these two exchanges, via Lyle Denniston at SCOTUSBlog, seem to sum up the worldview of conservative “jurisprudence:”
Justice Kennedy seemed …. [to argue] that the Court would be seen as exercising judicial activism, not restraint, if it allowed some part of the law to remain intact but that wholly changed what Congress had intended to happen in the health insurance industry.
Near the end of his argument, [Deputy Solicitor General] Kneedler moved to a broader argument, discussing some of the consequences of a decision to nullify all of the Act, including throwing millions of people who had newly obtained insurance off of the rolls. Many changes in the Medicare program for the elderly also have gone into effect, he added. But the Chief Justice interrupted to say that all of that occurred on the assumption that the mandate was constitutional, and those developments would not keep the Court from making its own decision about the mandate and the consequences of nullifying it.
Get that? Oh no! What’s going to happen to those poor insurance companies? We can’t let them do that! But when it comes it what happens to millions of people cut off from health insurance, who cares. Whatever.
Two different justices. Two different parts of the argument. But it speaks volumes about who is important and who is not. William Graham Sumner would be proud.