Supreme Court gets it right — at first — and then, as in Bush v Gore, blinks.
The essence of the individual mandate — the basis for the individual mandate — the statutory underpinning for the individual mandate — AND the legislative history for the individual mandate — claim it was based NOT on taxing authority but on the INTERSTATE COMMERCE CLAUSE.
The President INSISTED publicly the individual mandate was NOT a tax.
So with the branch of government which passed the bill declaring it was not a tax, and with the executive branch which signed the bill into law declaring it was not a tax, how did the third branch of government come to the conclusion that the mandate was on its face unconstitutional (four justices said the law should be struck down in its entirety) as anything BUT a tax, AND YET rule that it was constitutional because it IS a tax!
The Supreme Court just did something terrible (or perhaps I should say the Chief Justice just did something terrible). Just as it did in Bush v Gore, one of the absolutely worst decisions in the history of that body, the Supreme Court announced to the entire nation that the judicial branch isn't really a co-equal branch of the national government but instead subservient and submissive to the legislative and executive branches: we will REWRITE your statutes to make them pass muster, we will correct your mistakes, and we will reform your errors, we will serve you and the mass of public opinion behind you or which we fear is behind you.
The joke on the American people is something that at least the President and the Democratic leaders in Congress understand: the act would never have passed Congress as a tax (it barely, by the slimmest of margins, crept through as a NON tax). So it passed the "people's house" based on not being a tax, got the President's signature because it was not a tax, and then the Supreme Court winks, says "I got your back," and upholds it because it IS a tax.
Some people might say, with some justification, that the nation just got defrauded by its Congress and its President, and got backstabbed by its Supreme Court.
I think I am among those people.
Now, if Congress and the President were to announce that they refuse to accept this "win" because it was obtained under false pretenses, and the act will be resubmitted to a Congressional vote with altered language showing clearly that the mandate is a tax, then who could argue with their honesty and fair play?
But that will not happen.
Don't expect partisanship and distrust to end because of this decision.
Expect it to explode!