Tonight's cuppa: Belgian chocolate coffee
To have to buy or not have to buy, that is the question -- and one of "The Five" may have an answer.
It's the general consensus that either today (Thursday) or next Monday, the Supreme Court of the United States -- a k a SCOTUS -- will likely release its decision on the constitutionality of the individual mandate in President Obama's (and Rep. Nancy Pelosi's and Sen. Harry Reid's, since both Democrats were in charge of the House of Representatives and the Senate, respectively, when the legislation was passed on Christmas Eve, 2009) healthcare-overhaul bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, popularly called "Obamacare" (a term, though, not popular with those who support the bill)
The individual mandate is a provision in the bill that requires affected persons to purchase health insurance or face a penalty (click here for a neat flowchart). Opponents of the mandate disagree with the Obama administration's claim that the authority to impose such a mandate exists within the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.
Click here and also here for exhaustive discussions of the issues at stake in the decision -- the first link even leads to a site where you can, Heaven help you, read the entire bill -- but on Wednesday, June 20, I quizzed Dana Perino, former presidential press secretary (for George W. Bush) and current panelist for FNC's weekday roundtable show "'The Five," on when and how the justices would rule.
"Usually," she says, "the Supreme Court releases opinions on Mondays or Thursdays. It will be between now and the 28th, since the 28th is the last day that they make decisions. ... I'm excited to get the decision. I think it will be good to get this behind us, so people can come together to work on some solutions.
"The atmosphere, when you're talking about healthcare policy right now, is so toxic in Washington -- not just in Washington, but it culminates there -- that a decision either way will be a good thing.
"I think the president's healthcare bill will be struck down in whole or in part. Because the administration argued in court that if part of it is struck down, none of it works, then they might just go ahead and strike down the whole thing. But it will be a split decision.
"The thing that really makes me think that is because, one, oral arguments went the way they did; two is, I'm an amateur lawyer, and I had to do a lot of legal-spokesperson work when I was in the Bush administration, of course; and the third thing is, when Justice Ginsburg said, last weekend, in very rare public comments, that America should expect, quote, sharp disagreements, unquote, when the decision comes out.
"That, to me, signals that there's a split decision, that the liberals on the court disagreed with the others, and that they lost. If you're going to win, you pocket the win, and you let it go. But if you're trying to shape the discussion for the postgame analysis, you start letting the word out, so you can lay the groundwork, so that people will know that they're going to be disappointed.
"I think they all know that it's not going to work, which is just a shame. I mean, it's not a shame that the bill is going to go down -- I'm glad it is -- it's just a shame that we've spent this much time poisoning the atmosphere with a bill that was not constitutional.
"it's very bad."
Well, there you have it. Will Perino be right or wrong?
Perhaps more importantly -- OK, not, but it is more fun to talk about -- will she win her Twitter-follower war with fellow "Five" panelist Greg Gutfeld, a k a @GregGutfeld? (For the record, @DanaPerino is currently cleaning the "RedEye" host's clock in terms of total Twitter followers.)
The "twar" is set to conclude just after Independence Day, on July 6, but one thing's for sure, fireworks will explode over the end, one way or another, of the current phase of the healthcare debate long before then.