Tomorrow's decision is all about the president

This moment of anticipation around tomorrow’s Supreme Court decision reminds me of periods from previous momentous decisions: the Nixon tapes and Bush v. Gore. There are many theories of what and why the court will decide, often conflicting. (For a really helpful guide to how to read and begin to interpret tomorrow’s decision check this out. There is much speculation about the political consequences;  it too, is divided.

You can read much better discussions of the potential policy scenarios depending on the court’s decision here:

National Journal:Urgent Business

Washington Post: Ruling likely to have long-term fallout

Politico: For health industry, ‘every man for himself’

But it is the politics that is our topic.

I will have more to say tomorrow when the decision is rendered, but, politically, I think this will all be about perceptions of the president. If the law is upheld, Obama will be somewhat stronger.  If parts of the law are struck down — the mandate most obviously — then Obama will be much weaker; it will weaken further perceptions of his effectiveness as a leader. I will have more to say later about how the political nuances of the decision might impact voter turn-out within the respective party bases, or how it might alter messaging. But my initial read is this: If the Nixon tapes case was all about the re-balance of constructional power between the three branches of government, and Bush v. Gore was all about the politicization of the Supreme Court, tomorrow’s decision is all about the president.

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