Today I went to hear Erwin Chemerinsky speak at the synagogue. He is a famous lawyer on matters related to the Constitution and is the Dean of the law school at U.C. Irvine.
He is a brilliant speaker and I'm sure teacher as well, so it is a pleasure to listen to him at any time, but today, what he had to say was very compelling on its own terms. His subject was the current Supreme Court, which he dubbed as "easily the most conservative court since the 30s." He qualified that statement by examining some important cases of the last few years, and analyzed how the outcome came to be what it was.
Like the U.S. as a whole, the Supreme Court is split between liberals and conservatives, with only Anthony Kennedy as buffer zone between the two. He generally goes with the majority in the case of 5/4 splits, Chemerinsky told us, but that means that he most often sides with the conservatives.
On the basis of this analysis, he made some projections of how the upcoming cases might be settled, but seemed not to be able to make such a call in the case of the Affordable Care Act. He did say that he was quite sure that if they overruled the mandatory coverage element of the law, the statute against pre-existing conditions would also fall. And he was quite sure it would be, as everything else is right now in this country, a matter of polarized ideologies. Sigh...