Supreme Court Gives Obama a Policy Win, But Maybe a Political Loss

President Obama's healthcare law was upheld, but he may experience political repercussions.

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In a 50/50 nation, there are no clear wins or losses. With the Supreme Court's decision, President Barack Obama wins a big policy victory which may have a political downside.

The individual mandate is the foundation of the President Obama's healthcare reform effort and the Supreme Court's decision to uphold it validates the president's singular achievement. In effect, the Court legitimized the Obama presidency. The participation of the conservative Chief Justice John Roberts in the majority throws the cloak of bipartisanship on an expansion of federal power and an important effort to solve a major problem.

[See editorial cartoons about healthcare.]

But the president's policy victory may bring political penalties. The mandate was the most unpopular feature of the Affordable Care Act and the court's decision will galvanize and energize the Tea Party in the fall. Plus, the court upheld the mandate on the basis of the government's taxing power which means the court validated the argument that the law is a tax increase in disguise.

  • Follow the latest Supreme Court healthcare developments on the Washington Whispers live blog.
  • Check out political cartoons about the Tea Party movement.
  • Check out U.S. News Weekly : an insider's guide to politics and policy.

  • Corrected on 06/28/2012: A previous version of the headline of this post mischaracterized the author’s reaction to the healthcare ruling. He believed that it was a policy win, but possibly a political loss for the president.