We won’t know the result until late June, most likely. And the results of today’s vote could change by then.
Still, it’s sort of weird that after three years of public, wildly emotional and stupifyingly complex arguments, the fate of the republic comes down to a short meeting in Washington involving nine people in a paneled room.
Mark Sherman of AP describes the cloistered scene:
After months of anticipation, thousands of pages of briefs and more than six hours of arguments, the justices will vote on the fate of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul in under an hour Friday morning. They will meet in a wood-paneled conference room on the court’s main floor. No one else will be present.
I’ve already written about the importance of this case. Its significance approaches that of the Continental Congress on July 2, 1776, when it voted to declare our independence from Great Britain. That’s because the court will decide whether the government is a creation of its people, or if we are mere subjects to the government’s absolute rule.
I am not optimistic.
I think Justice Kennedy is looking for an excuse to uphold the law, and the brain tends to find what the the brain seeks. If he votes to uphold, Chief Justice Roberts will likely vote with the majority. That’s because the Chief Justice assigns the opinion for the side he’s on. By voting with the majority, he can craft the opinion himself.
In this scenario, the Supreme Court will have ruled, effectively, that Congress can extend government’s powers beyond the limits of the Constitution whenever it deems necessary. (Allahpundit concurs.) At least, it will have done so in the mind of swing voter Anthony Kennedy. That means our government would no longer be limited to the powers we gave it.
And at that point, my friends, we are no longer morally bound to the government in Washington. If Washington breaks its covenant, we are free to create a new government.
That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.
– Declaration of Independence
How monumental is that decision, now?
(For more one the covenant of the Constitution, read Michael Patrick Leahy’s fabulous new book, Covenant of Liberty__.)