By Carten Cordell Watchdog.org Virginia Bureau
With anticipation high for the decision as early as Monday, disparate groups from different ends of the political spectrum came out to protest the individual mandate in front of the Supreme Court.
It’sOurEconomy.us, a group of doctors led by co-director Kevin Zeese — who was one of the organizers of Occupy D.C., and a past Green Party candidate — had come out to protest the individual mandate, which the Supreme Court ruled was a tax for people not covered by health insurance.
“We don’t see the regulation of insurance as unconstitutional, we don’t see the expansion of Medicaid as unconstitutional, but forcing Americans to buy a corporate product with up to 9 percent of their income overstretches the bounds of government,” he said.
It’sOurEconomy later found itself sharing space and protest chants against the mandate with the tea party, which showed up en masse on both Monday and Thursday for the ruling.
After hearing that the court found the mandate in violation of the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, tea party advocates were at first elated, thinking that it had been overturned. As the realization that the law had been upheld set, the elation quickly turned to anger and defiance.
“I think the Supreme Court’s opinion is wrong, the final decision is up to we the people,” said Mark Herr of Tea Party Patriots. “It actually energizes me because 68 percent of the American people do not agree federal government’s usurpation of power over health care decision-making. They believe that decision should be made between themselves and their doctors, I agree with that and I support that.”
It was a day complete with a revolutionary patriot, belly dancers, a Jesus mannequin and a grim reaper. The Supreme Court decision on Obamacare Thursday bought out several visions of America, and when the decision was read, what had come together was quickly divided again.
Debate erupted on the path to the court while political leaders around Virginia reacted to the news.
“The [law] will create a costly and cumbersome system that will impair our country’s ability to recover from these challenging economic times, infringes on our citizen’s liberties, will harm small businesses, and will impose dramatic unfunded mandates on Virginia and all states. Simply put, this is a blow to freedom,” said Gov. Bob McDonnell.
Delegate Patrick Hope, D-Arlington, contrasted McDonnell’s statement and said the ruling was victory for the people of the state.
“It is absolutely a historic day for the 1 million Virginians who are uninsured and the 30 million Americans who are uninsured,” he said.
Delegate Bob Marshall, R-Manassas, said despite calls for a repeal of the bill, the best strategy for defying Obamacare was simply not to fund it.
“The question is, is Eric Cantor and the Republicans, are they willing to get into a fight into this? Everything else is illusory,” he said. “The only thing that will be practical is to say no money. Every one of the (appropriations bills) must contain clauses to block funding. You have got to put amendments on every one of all appropriations bills.
“If the Republicans aren’t willing to do that, they’re not serious about blocking this. They’re not serious about our rights.”
Despite the spotlight focused on Obamacare, Virginia’s other hottest story of the week was the reinstatement of University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan.
Sullivan was sacked unexpectedly by the university’s Board of Visitors three weeks ago, but after protests from faculty and students, as well as calls from McDonnell to resolve the situation, the board put Sullivan back into the president’s chair Tuesday with a unanimous vote.
“The unity of the board and this community is very important and will help us make progress,” Sullivan told reporters after the meeting, adding, perhaps quixotically, that she was “grateful” for the ordeal.
The questions now will be how much of the public’s trust has the board lost from the aborted firing, and how will its working relationship with Sullivan suffer because of it?
Clearly in Charlottesville, while reunited, the board and Sullivan have a lot of making up to do.