The Supreme Court has one primary job. It is the third leg of the system of checks and balances intended to keep our government in its place and prevent it from shedding its past to become an authoritarian, despotic state. The Court does this by evaluating the other branches’ actions against the ultimate legal framework upon which our society depends, the Constitution. The Court’s job is not to do what’s best for any constituency. It is not to do what will make the people temporally happy (this is why it is not an elected body). The Court’s job and sole reason for existence is to vet laws for their permissibility under the Constitution. When the Court comes to the point of partisan politics, supporting their parties’ actions to the end, we lose all the protections afforded us by the Constitution.
Today, the Court is expected to return its verdict on the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), and specifically the individual mandate. Nowhere in the Constitution is Congress given authority to force an individual to enter into commerce with a private enterprise. When the verdict comes through, we will know whether we have an intact system of checks and balances, or a despotic committee of 600 people who can make the other 300 million of us dance like marionettes.
UPDATE: Well. SCOTUS ruled the mandate Constitutional, under Congress’s power to levy taxes. They did, on the other hand, explicitly say it is NOT a valid use of the Commerce Clause. Functionally, I see little difference (if Congress can impose a punitive tax on arbitrary personal situations, they can still effectively pull your strings all over the place), though this is a small victory on principles. Limiting the Commerce Clause’s applicability is never a bad thing.