In plain English, from Scotusblog:
Amy Howe: In Plain English: The Affordable Care Act, including its individual mandate that virtually all Americans buy health insurance, is constitutional. There were not five votes to uphold it on the ground that Congress could use its power to regulate commerce between the states to require everyone to buy health insurance.
However, five Justices agreed that the penalty that someone must pay if he refuses to buy insurance is a kind of tax that Congress can impose using its taxing power. That is all that matters.
Because the mandate survives, the Court did not need to decide what other parts of the statute were constitutional, except for a provision that required states to comply with new eligibility requirements for Medicaid or risk losing their funding. On that question, the Court held that the provision is constitutional as long as states would only lose new funds if they didn’t comply with the new requirements, rather than all of their funding.
This is just the upshot. There’s a lot in there that needs to be parsed by the legal beagles. More later as I read around the tubes.
Meanwhile, if you want to have some fun, watch Fox News this morning …
Update: Here’s Erick Erickson with a first reaction:
I’m disappointed by the decision, but not terribly surprised given I had no idea which way it’d go. I do take away a few things.
First, John Roberts’ opinion seems to clearly suggest he wants to keep the Supreme Court out of political fights and was willing to destroy his reputation with conservatives to do it.
Second, this forces everyone to deal with the issue politically. The President and Democrats did, according to the Court, impose a tax increase. Because it is a taxation issue, the GOP now, should it take back the Senate, have even more grounds to deal with the matter under reconciliation, bypassing the 60 vote filibuster threshold.
It’s a big win for the President and a bad day for freedom. But we can deal with it. It is not the end of the world, the republic, or freedom. It just means we have to fight harder.
In the meantime, following Obama’s lead on illegal aliens, I think Mitt Romney should declare that if he is President he’ll seek “prosecutorial discretion” to not go after people who don’t pay their individual mandate tax.