Obviously, I would have preferred this decision to go the other way. I also would have preferred a decision which made sense, which this decision doesn’t really seem to. Despite my general distates for this law, I thought the argument that Congress couldn’t bully the states by threatening to take their Medicaid money away was nonsense, and yet there the Supreme Court goes, agreeing with them. Meanwhile, the Court has rewritten the mandate as a tax, even though everyone who passed it said it wasn’t one. There’s dim hope in the fact that they refused to expand the commerce clause—but only dim, because future expansions of the commerce clause are going to be decided more by the future composition of the court than by this ruling.

But much as I dislike it the general direction of the ruling was hardly unexpected, even if the actual outlines of the decision are pretty much what exactly no one was predicting. I’m not super surprised that they voted to uphold–though I suspect that Justice Roberts has ducked outrage from liberals only to now get just as much outrage from his own side. This is the political environment we now live in. The age when liberal academics could comfortably expect to see their dominance of the academy translate into a broad progressive consensus on the court are over. We’ll be battling over the composition of the court for a long time—and if a liberal or conservative justice is forced to retire while the other party holds the presidency, I expect to see things get vicious indeed.

Meanwhile, let’s look on the bright side. Some reasons to be cheerful:

You’ll have to follow the link for those. But here’s one: “I assume that we’re all looking forward to seeing Obama campaign on his large middle class tax hike. Pass the popcorn!”