There may be other Brits like me who could use some illumination over the Court's decision to uphold Obamacare. I recommend - but without any supporting expertise - two pieces I've read with interest. David Cole explains the legal detail, as he sees it, of why Chief Justice John Roberts voted with the liberals in the Court, and he then adds this political gloss:
[I]n addition, I cannot but think that at the back of Roberts's mind was the Court's institutional standing. Had the law been struck down on "party lines," the Court's reputation would be seriously undermined. In May, the Pew Research Center reported that favorable views of the Supreme Court as an institution had reached an all-time low. Sharply divided partisan decisions like Bush v. Gore and Citizens United appear to have done damage to the Court's legitimacy - and ultimately, its legitimacy is the source of the Court's power. Today's result, which upholds the actions of the democratically elected branches on a major piece of social welfare legislation that affects us all against a challenge that was always a real long shot, driven more by politics than legal principle, may help repair the Court's tarnished image.
Ezra Klein says that Roberts 'sided with the conservative bloc on every major legal question before the court', and with the liberals only on a matter of relative unimportance.
It's as if an umpire tweaked the rules to favor his team in the future, but obscured the changes by calling a particular contest for the other side.
Whatever the case on this score, I'm glad the Supreme Court decided as it did. It's a victory for some elementary values.