How fun is the Supreme Court? With only hours to go until it rules on Obamacare, potentially altering the lives of millions upon millions of people, nobody has any idea what it’s going to say. Okay, that’s not totally accurate. It’s pretty safe to assume that any decision will be 5-4 or, at most, 6-3. But as for whether or not the Court will strike down the mandate, the entire law, or nothing, even the experts are just making educated guesses at best. Precedent doesn’t necessarily matter. Oral arguments weren’t totally convincing either way. It goes without saying (but we’re saying it?) that there haven’t been any leaks from the few humans who actually know about the ruling.
There have been a few interesting tea leaves. Chief Justice John Roberts is likely to pen the majority decision — probably not a good sign for Obamacare. But did liberal justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg kind of sound suspiciously sunny when discussing the case earlier this month? It’s likely nothing … but … ?
Anyway, nobody knows. But some people have been bold enough to make a prediction anyway. Here’s what they’re saying:
- Ed Whelan (Bench Memos/National Review): “[T]he Court will invalidate the individual mandate by a 5-4 vote.”
- Tom Goldstein (SCOTUSblog): “I believe the mandate will not be invalidated tomorrow.”
- Former Solicitor General Walter Dellinger: “[W]ill the court really strike down a law of this magnitude by a 5-4 margin? I have a hard time believing that will happen.”
- Scott Lemieux (Lawyers, Guns, and Money): “If forced to choose, I’d say the court will vote 5-4 to strike the mandate, and they will rule that it cannot be severed from at least some of the other provisions in the act.”
- Michael Tomasky (Daily Beast): “That means overturning the mandate 5-4. But it means doing so narrowly, carefully, almost regretfully.”
- Peter Suderman (Reason): “I’m on record as predicting that the mandate will go down.”
- Megan McArdle (Daily Beast): “I have no idea.”
- Nancy Pelosi: “I’m predicting 6-3 in favor.”
- Jeffrey Toobin: “I would bet that this court is going to strike down the individual mandate.”
- InTrade: 74.3 percent chance that the mandate is ruled unconstitutional.
- A poll of 21 Constitutional law professors: Five “said the court is likely to strike down the coverage requirement,” eight said it is not, and eight “described the outcome as a toss-up.”
- A poll of 38 former Supreme Court clerks and eighteen attorneys who have argued before the Court: “57 percent think the individual mandate will be overturned.”