|By Robert J. Vickers, The Patriot-News, Harrisburg, Pa.|
In a 5-4 decision, including conservative Chief Justice
The mandate, a key element of Obama's healthcare law, sparked intense outrage from conservatives who have argued the government does not have the right to force citizens to pay for a government service.
The court's four liberal justices,
Though derided by critics as "Obamacare," the healthcare overhaul was the product of elaborate compromises by the president, and was based on a
The ruling provides Obama with a precious election-year policy victory on an issue critics in his own party said he failed to properly communicate to the nation. He'll now be able to use the court's decision on his move to provide coverage for more than 30 million uninsured Americans as a platform to re-cast the law to the nation.
But the decision also allows
And it continues to galvanize conservatives against Obama.
"People tend to stay madder about losing than winning," said
"His people will be disappointed and angry and it might increase their intensity to turn out in November," Broussard said. "It'll increase Romney's ability to say 'The only way we can protect ourselves from this enormous overreach of federal power is to elect me and give me a
The ruling stunned political observers, most of whom had expected the court to negate all or part of the historic law.
The ruling will have also come as a blow to Gov.
Other prominent Republicans took to Twitter expressing disbelief at the ruling.
--"I thought @barackobama said it wasnt a #tax," tweeted
--House Majority Leader
--Added former House Speaker
Obama supporters expressed exasperated relief.
--"Victory for the American people! Millions of American families and children will have certainty of health care benefits + affordable care," tweeted House Minority Leader