One thought on “The Affordable Care Act, seersucker and courage

  1. Legal professionals, judges and lawyers alike, are in agreement that a judicial opinion, including opinions of the Supreme Court of the United States, generally consists of two parts. The “holding” of a case is that part of the reasoning of the court that is essential to support the actual outcome of the dispute. The holding is binding on, i.e., dictates the outcome of similar future cases in, all lower courts. In contrast, so-called “dicta” in a case are comments by the authoring judge with no binding effect on lower courts because the comments are not essential to the outcome of the case. Query whether the Chief Justice’s exegesis on the scope of the Commerce Clause in his opinion in the Affordable Care Act case, whose holding that the Act is constitutional is based entirely on Congress’s taxing power, is part of the holding (and thus precedential) or merely non-binding dicta.

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