Howard Dean, former Democratic National Committee chairman and 2004 presidential candidate, tried to defend President Obama from the prospect of the Supreme Court overturning Obamacare by maligning the integrity of the justices (two of whom Obama appointed).
Dean thinks it's possible the court could strike down the entire health care law, not just the individual mandate, so he is trying to portray the Supreme Court as antagonistic to the president in advance. "I think the president is in great shape in health care, unless they strike down the whole bill," Dean said on Fox News Sunday. "This is the most political Supreme Court we've ever had, 73 percent of the American believe that politics motivates the Supreme Court. I'm one of those 73 percent."
Dean then uttered what he hopes is a self-fulfilling prophecy. "I think a lot of this is going to be seen as politics," he said. Dean did not say if he thinks upholding the law -- presumably with the two justices appointed by Obama (Justices Kagan and Sotomayor) voting in favor of Obamacare -- would be politically-motivated.
The former DNC chair, apparently in full political spin mode, suggested that "it would ultimately be seen as a victory for the president" if the Supreme Court overturns the individual mandate because, as Dean noted, "people don't like the mandate."
Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy -- seen as the swing-vote on the court because he regularly rules against both conservative and liberal hobby horses -- made rather a constitutional than a political or Republican critique of Obamacare. The individual mandate, Kennedy noted during oral arguments, "changes the relationship of the Federal Government to the individual in the very fundamental way." He also criticized the idea of keeping Obamacare after striking down the individual mandate because "we would have a new regime that Congress did not provide for, did not consider."