WASHINGTON -- Even though she was in the majority in the 5-4 ruling upholding the majority of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is taking issue with the court's reasoning.
The justices found that the individual mandate, requiring most Americans to purchase health insurance, was an invalid use of the Constitution's clause giving Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce, but that it could be upheld as a tax.
But Ginsburg said the mandate should have been supported under the commerce clause. She also said the entire law should have been upheld as written, without forcing any changes in the Medicaid provision. The majority found problems with the expansion of Medicaid, but said it could proceed as long as the government doesn't threaten to withhold a state's entire Medicaid allotment if it doesn't take part in the extension.
Ginsburg, in a statement from the bench, said that even though the health care law survives, the court's position on the commerce clause "has been set awry." She said she expects that the "setbacks will be temporary."
The ruling that upheld the vast majority of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul came from the court's four liberal justices, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts.
The dissenters were Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.
In a joint statement, they said, "The act before us here exceeds federal power both in mandating the purchase of health insurance and in denying non-consenting states all Medicaid funding."
Kennedy, speaking in court, summarized the dissent by saying, "In our view, the act before us is invalid in its entirety."