Matthews: Most important Court decision since Civil Rights Act

Updated

Let me finish tonight with this: I can’t think of a more important Supreme Court verdict on an act of Congress since it upheld the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  

The issue before it now, the power of the United States government, to regulate interstate commerce is along the same lines of the Civil Rights Act, although it seems harder to argue that the federal government can make you buy something you don’t want to buy than it does to argue that once you open a business, you can’t discriminate against a customer on account of race.

There’s a harder way to size up this case: Does the federal government have the right under the justices’ reading of the Constitution to make you buy something that you would not otherwise buy?  

This is high stakes action with a variety of possible consequences. Let’s look at the worst from the President’s point of view: 

The court strikes down the President’s health care bill–“Obamacare,” if you will–as unconstitutional. Think how the Republicans, from Romney on down, will run with it! “The President ‘acted unconstitutionally.’ He violated his oath to the Constitution, the promise to protect it for this country.”

This will play without even saying so into the hands of the far right who deny the President’s legitimacy. They will say that he was not legitimate to begin with, shouldn’t have been allowed to take the office, and now stands exposed as a breaker of the Constitution.

I believe there’s a good chance the Supreme Court will rule in the other direction, will give the President the victory, the hard work that was done by him and the Congress, he deserves. He will be granted the elevated stature in history as the American who delivered on a promise made through much of the 20th century, but delivered, primarily because of him, in the 21st. 

Heavy stakes. Very heavy.

Supreme Court and Hardball Let Me Finish

Matthews: Most important Court decision since Civil Rights Act

Updated