How many Supreme Court justices would it take?

Among the vocal political types, whether or not one thinks the healthcare law is constitutional seems to often match up with whether or not one thinks it is good policy. So obviously many people’s interpretation of the Constitution is being influenced by their politics.

If the Supreme Court rules in your favor, there’s not much chance for retrospection. However, let’s imagine that the Court rules against what you consider correct. Would you revise your thinking? Would you accept that you were wrong? Would the size of the Court’s majority affect that?

Note this is not the Great Debates forum (no polls there, why?), so please vote and/or state your opinion, but do get into arguments with others here. You can always start a thread over there.

The actual text of their opinion might sway my opinion on its constitutionality, but not the voting. But then again, I don’t have a firm opinion on either the constitutionality or desirability of the individual mandate, even if there are other good things about the rest of the Act.

After watching the court hand Bush the Presidency in an obviously political decision, I lost all respect for its judgment & honesty, and it lost all moral authority in my eyes. And I expect them to decide against the healthcare law; not because of the law, but out of a desire to help the Republicans smear Obama. I see no reason to assume that their decision will have much to do with the law; they have proven their corruption.

I’m fearful of a 5-4 split because no matter which way they go, it will be seen as a political decision, rather than one based on law. But maybe if they go 6-3, and definitely for 7-2, I think their ruling will be reasonably unbiased. If there’s only two justices in the dissent (for example, Alito and Thomas, or Sotomayor and Kagan), I don’t see how a claim that the decision is only political makes sense. So, even if the result went against what I think is good policy (I’m generally in favor of Obamacare), I’d accept it. And try to think of ways to legislate around the Court’s objections.

I’m kind of surprised by the number of people choosing the other option. I’d think a unanimous decision would be clearly nonpartisan. But that’s why I started the poll. :smiley:

I know what I want and what I think. How on earth could the decision of nine strangers change my view? They can’t change my view of the question now before them. They could change my view about them depending on how they vote. I can’t wait until June to hear.

Data point: I am absolutely against the ACA. I think it is terrible social policy.

But I believe it is constitutional.

Just because I’d not think their decision was political in nature doesn’t mean I’d therefore think their reasoning was correct. For example, the reasoning that the individual mandate is somehow not a tax does not seem to be political in nature, but I hold it to be demonstrably wrong.

Like any other discussion, the way to convince me is with words, not voting. A large number of people believing something only makes me try harder to understand a position–it does not make me adopt it.

!!! I’m like the opposite. I think it’s generally decent policy (not perfect but definitely not terrible), yet I believe it is unconstitutional and hope that the court finds it so.

I didn’t vote. I just wanted to note that even lopsided decisions can look wrong in retrospect. In Dred Scott, the supremes found 7-2 finding that black people, whether slaves or not, had essentially no rights and could certainly not be citizens. In Plessy, the court found 7-1 that Jim Crow was jim-dandy.

After Kelo and the cases cited by bibliophage above, no majority could convince me I was wrong.

“Sometimes a majority just means all the fools are on the same side.” - Will Rogers

Disclaimer: I realize that what I’m about to say is a gross oversimplification of Obamacare. I also realize that Obamacare isn’t a public option and the decisions made on this case cannot necessarily be applied to a law that includes the public option.

That said, here’s the deal. Every first world nation in the world except ours has a form of health care to provide for all its citizens. Every one but us. Were the Supreme Court to rule that it is Unconstitutional for us to even attempt to do even half of what every other civilized nation is capable of doing, well, it’s a pretty sad fucking commentary on the the laws that govern our land and the mindset of those who interpret those laws.

So to answer the question posed. Would I be swayed if 5 out of 9 justices ruled against what I considered the correct opinion? Not at all. That just means 4 of them agreed with me and so I’m probably on pretty strong ground to believe what I do.

Would you be swayed if all nine justices ruled against what you consider the correct opinion?

Short answer: yes
Medium answer: I’d be shocked beyond belief were this to happen and it’s taking all I can muster not to fight the hypothetical.
Longish answer: it’s still a sad commentary on the state of laws in this country and the judicial interpretations of said laws that would deny us access to public health care. So my larger point remains regardless of how many justices were to disagree with me.

I voted “Not convinced by the size of the majority”. I could easily be convinced by the logic of the decision, or of a dissent. The number of justices who agree with it would be a signal that I should pay more attention to the opinion, but wouldn’t be enough to convince me on its own.

As far as the ACA goes, I do not have a clear idea of whether it’s Constitutional or not, so I’ll accept whatever the court decides. For the sake of it not being a horrendous clusterfuck of a political circus, I hope they break 9-0 one way or the other.

Just about every article on the recent strip search decision began “Dividing among familiar political and ideological lines…”.

If you can reliably predict a judge’s decision not by the law that he/she is reviewing, but rather where the judge sits on the political spectrum, then it’s hard to argue with the fact that the process is broken. That’s activism and not law.

Unfortunately, it seems a great deal of “constitutional law” is simply justifying the political result that is desired.

I’m of the same opinion(s). I like the general shape of the legislation, but don’t think it’s actually constitutional. Hopefully, the court will scrap it and the next congress will find a way to make it actually work.

I am not generally convinced by arguments ad populum. If they’re wrong, it doesn’t matter how many of them are wrong.


The next congress? Please, it took twenty years to bring serious health care reform before congress after the last attempt failed. What makes you think it’ll take less time now? Like it or not, Obamacare is the health care reform we’ve got until people who aren’t even born yet can vote. Take it or leave it.

Leave it. And no number of justices would convince me either.