In Health Ruling, Relief for Obama but a Blow to Conventional Wisdom

Published on the New York Times, by NATE SILVER, June 28, 2012;

The Supreme Court’s 5-to-4 decision on Thursday to uphold most of President Obama’s health care law represents a hurdle cleared for Mr. Obama. He had been at risk of seeing his most ambitious policy initiative — and most expensive, in terms of the political capital it required — neutered or overturned by the court … //

… In another blow to conventional wisdom, the decision to uphold the law came in a 5-to-4 vote, but with Chief Justice Roberts voting with the four liberals on the court while Justice Anthony M. Kennedy voted with the conservatives — and he signed a strongly worded dissenting opinion that claimed the entire law should have been struck down.

This permutation had been considered unlikely by experts, most of whom had predicted a 6-to-3 ruling for the law, or a 5-to-4 ruling against it, with Justice Roberts and Justice Kennedy voting together in either case. And if the decision had been 5 to 4 in favor of the law, it was thought that Justice Kennedy and not Chief Justice Roberts would have been more likely to join the majority.

Who came out looking better than the pundits? Interestingly, it may be high school students.

High school students participating in a Supreme Court “fantasy league” sponsored by the nonprofit Harlan Institute had been about evenly divided in predicting the court’s decision, with 57 percent thinking the mandate would be overturned and 43 percent saying it would be upheld.

Nor did the oral arguments in the case, which substantially affected the conventional wisdom, alter the students’ opinions much. Instead, they had seen the case as a tossup from the beginning.

I suspect these students would have been wise enough to avoid some of the counterintuitive speculation about the decision’s political effects that you will now be seeing on television. (full text).

Links:

Supreme Court of the United States SCOTUS: on their Website; and on en.wikipedia;

SCOTUS blog;

Obamacare: FantasySCOTUS league, well-kept secrets and possible stock market winners and losers, on MEDcity News, by Veronica Combs, June 25, 2012;

Harlan InstituteTeacher Advisory NetworkFinancial DocumentslearnteachFantasySCOTUS from the Harlan InstituteContact.

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