On Thursday, June 28th, the U.S. Supreme Court, on a 5 to 4 vote, declared The Affordable Care Act, or what some call “Obamacare,” constitutional. The lead decider was Chief Justice John Roberts (photo below), who’s view turned on the idea that the law’s provision for an “individual mandate” to get insurance or pay a price for choosing not to do so, while not really governed by the Commerce Clause, was indeed a tax and not a penalty. And because it is a tax, it has to be paid before it can be challenged by the payee. In other words, it’s constitutional.
Moreover, the Affordable Care Act calls for no jail time for anyone who fails to pay the so-called penalty for not getting health care, and if you’re poor you don’t have to pay it anyway. Lastly for this point, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the organization charged with collecting the fees for non-participation.
The ruling was a clear victory for President Obama, and an obvious loss for the GOP and the far right, who pinned much of its hopes for a November election victory by Governor Mitt Romney over Obama on the outcome of the U.S. Supreme Court’s deliberations.
CNN and Fox News Mistakenly Report Law Struck Down
On the morning of the decision, CNN and Fox News, for reasons that bend toward their conservative leanings, reported that the Supreme Court had rejected the Affordable Care Act as unconstitutional. The result caused an eruption on Twitter, as both CNN and Fox News hit Twitter Top Trend status.
Newsy Politics on YouTube made a cool video that summarized how CNN, Fox News, the Daily Caller, and other outlets got it wrong, and reported that SCOTUSBLOG.com, which I refer to in my blog post (thanks to a tip from my Mom), got it right.
CNN issued this correction:
“In his opinion, Chief Justice Roberts initially said that the individual mandate was not a valid exercise of Congressional power under the Commerce Clause. CNN reported that fact, but then wrongly reported that therefore the court struck down the mandate as unconstitutional. However, that was not the whole of the Court’s ruling. CNN regrets that it didn’t wait to report out the full and complete opinion regarding the mandate. We made a correction within a few minutes and apologize for the error.”
As for Fox News, it defended its mistake, claiming that it was working with the information as it came in – oh, brother.
Fox News, or noise, I can understand because who believes them anyway? But CNN making this kind of mistake is just plain horrible.