ObamaCare Ruling Keeps All Eyes on Anthony Kennedy

Ezra Klein: Court's ruling will likely arrive in heat of 2012 campaign
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 1, 2011 12:20 PM CST
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy presides over "The Trial of Hamlet," a representation of Hamlet's trial with a jury of 12 community members in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

(Newser) – Instead of ObamaCare, maybe the nickname for health care reform should be KennedyCare. As in Anthony Kennedy, the Supreme Court swing vote who could very well decide whether the legislation lives or dies when it makes it to the Supreme Court. After yesterday's ruling by a federal judge in Florida that the law is unconstitutional, "the bottom line" remains unchanged, writes Ezra Klein in the Washington Post: "The fate of the legislation is now, as it was last week, in the hands of Anthony Kennedy."

However things shake out—one possibility is that court will declare that the mandate to buy insurance is unconstitutional but that it is "severable" from the rest of the legislation, notes Klein—the decision is likely to come in the heat of the 2012 campaign. "An adverse ruling could radicalize liberals toward the Court in much the way that Roe radicalized conservatives," he writes. "This case puts the Supreme Court more firmly at the center of a major and polarizing political issue than they've been in recent memory."

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