Independence Day: Time Also to Celebrate Fair and Impartial Courts
Lane Powell Counsel to the Firm Matt Claman authored a July 4 Alaska Dispatch article titled “Independence Day: Time Also to Celebrate Fair and Impartial Courts.” In the article, Claman discussed the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision finding that Congress has the power to enact the Affordable Health Care Act, demonstrating the importance of fair and impartial courts.
On the Fourth of July, we celebrate the many great traditions of our democracy and the people who fought for independence. One critical feature of American democracy that our forefathers fought to protect is a fair and impartial judiciary. Last week’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court affirming the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) reminds us, as a nation, that we have an independent judiciary and how important maintaining fair and impartial courts is.
While his support for Congress’s power to pass the law was a surprise to many, Chief Justice Roberts established his leadership of the Supreme Court by writing the Court’s majority opinion. The Court found that the ACA’s individual mandate is a tax and that Congress has the power to enact a national health care law.
A learned history professor often remarked that “there are no simple solutions to complex problems,” and the national health care debate illustrates that complexity. The Affordable Health Care Act was over 2,700 pages, and most senators and members of Congress probably did not reach every page. Even the opinions in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius are over 100 pages, but most senators and members of Congress probably will not read all of them either. In contrast, the nine Justices on our Supreme Court have studied the ACA with the precision required to render an articulate decision on such a complex topic.