|By Robert J. Vickers, The Patriot-News, Harrisburg, Pa.|
By striking down much of
Today's expected ruling on health care could have an even broader effect on the election's outcome, potentially energizing or deflating the forces gathered to overturn the law, or defend it.
It's a bold posture for the highest court in the land, an institution wrapped in the prudish culture of jurisprudence.
Legal culture tends to shrink from just the appearance of meddling in political matters.
In many states, including
So it's no surprise that some political activists on the left and right might perceive the court as being overly activist.
"No matter what happens with that [health care] law, it is clear already that the [Chief Justice
But rather than wading into the contemporary polarized political maelstrom by ruling on topics that could affect the presidency, most legal and political experts say the
"The issues that get to the
If the court was concerned about appearing political, Rudalevige added, it would have ruled on the cases after the presidential election and before the next president takes office. Instead, it rules on the case before it in a timely fashion.
"It certainly seems they're taking a bite out of something they didn't have to chew yet" he said. "I don't think this is a court that's shy about making a statement about political issues or wanting its voice heard."
Others say the court is not only doing its job, but doing it in an apolitical manor.
"I don't think [politics] factors into the court's decisions one way or the other," said
"They're doing what the parties in the litigation asked them to do" Foreman added. "They're basically trying to clear out their docket by the end of June. It would have been more the exception to the rule if they hadn't.
"That's why they're appointed for life, so that they're not part of the sway of the day that you see in normal politics", Parks said. "They recognize that the standard they're held to is far different from other people in government".
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