I ran into a prominent conservative member of Congress Friday night just before the huge storms moved through Washington. He was, he said, far angrier on the day after the Supreme Court Obamacare decision than he had been the moment he learned Chief Justice John Roberts had joined the Court’s liberal bloc to uphold the individual mandate at the heart of Obamacare. He didn’t resort to histrionics or profanity, but he was spitting mad — and his anger was growing, not diminishing.
A short time later, I saw another conservative lawmaker who said much the same thing. And yet another conservative leader who was in the same frame of mind.
At the same time, a backlash was forming in response to analyses by some formidable conservative writers — George Will, Charles Krauthammer, and others — who argued the Obamacare decision was actually a victory for conservatives because it placed a limit on expansive interpretations of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause. In the Wall Street Journal, Berkeley law professor and former Bush Justice Department official John Yoo called such silver-lining analyses “hollow hope” and wrote that Obamacare is precisely the disaster for conservatives it appears to be:
The outer limit on the Commerce Clause in Sebelius does not put any other federal law in jeopardy and is undermined by its ruling on the tax power…Justice Roberts’s opinion provides a constitutional road map for architects of the next great expansion of the welfare state.