The Supreme Court's ruling effectively ends the state of limbo the health law has been in for months now. The court upheld almost the entire health law. It decided the most controversial feature, the so-called individual mandate that requires most people to either have insurance or pay a penalty, is constitutional. Chief Justice Roberts, who wrote the opinion for the five justice majority, said the mandate is okay because the penalty is a tax.
People wait in line for passes to enter the court.
Credit David Goldman / AP
After Chief Justice John Roberts read the Supreme Court's majority opinion Thursday that upheld the Affordable Care Act, the reaction from conservatives was predictable and strong. But Roberts is far from the first justice to act in unexpected ways.
Justices don't always turn out the way presidents (and commentators) might hope. President Dwight D. Eisenhower famously said his appointment of Chief Justice Earl Warren "was the biggest damn fool thing I ever did."
Update at 4:40 p.m. ET. House Votes To Hold Holder In Contempt:
In a dramatic showdown between the branches of government, the Republican-led House voted along party lines to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. This is the first time in history an attorney general has been held in contempt.
"It is of course true that the Act describes the payment as a 'penalty,' not a 'tax.' But while that label is fatal to the application of the Anti-Injunction Act, it does not determine whether the payment may be viewed as an exercise of Congress's taxing power."
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan at the Aspen Ideas Festival, but the big news today comes from Washington, where the Supreme Court upheld President Obama's health care law in a series of five-to-four votes. In a surprise, Chief Justice John Roberts joined the four liberal members of the court.
Reporters await a decision by the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the Affordable Healthcare Act, President Barack Obama's signature healthcare legislation.
Credit Saul Loeb / AFP/Getty Images
At its peak, 866,000 people were glued to SCOTUSblog, waiting for the Supreme Court's judgment on President Obama's signature legislation, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Not very long ago, SCOTUSblog was an unknown, a website where lawyers and legal wonks parsed even obscure Supreme Court decisions. But over the past few weeks, it has become the go-to place to get up-to-second news on the court.
In the most anticipated and politicized Supreme Court ruling since Bush v. Gore, which decided the 2000 U.S. presidential contest, the high court on Thursday let stand, in a 5-4 decision, the centerpiece of President Obama's health care legislation.
Chief Justice John Roberts, providing the deciding vote and writing the majority opinion, laid out the rationale, which says that Congress under the Commerce Clause does not have the authority to require people to buy insurance — but it does have the authority to tax people who do not have coverage.