#SCOTUS. Supreme Court. #Obamacare. Individual Mandate. Chief Justice Roberts. Affordable Care Act. CNN. Fox News. Sarah Palin. These keywords, filling up to 7 of the 10 slots on Twitter’s trending list this past Thursday, reflect the conversation of a nation reacting to one of the most important - and surprising - Supreme Court rulings in over a decade.
That the SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) upheld the Individual Mandate at the centerpiece of The Affordable Care Act, informally known as Obamacare, was unexpected in itself. After the brutal oral arguments, legal experts and laymen alike believed the court would strike down the provision requiring people to buy health insurance or face a fine. The fact that conservative Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the liberals in the 5-4 ruling was stunning, and left many wondering if he changed his mind at the last minute in order to lay down his legacy or bolster the Court's flagging popularity.
Fox News and CNN made headlines in other news outlines by mis-making their own headlines on the decision. Both stations ineptly jumped to the wrong conclusion about the court’s decision after reading the first page of the ruling, initially reporting that the court had overturned the law.
Some politicians reacted to the incorrect news, and were forced to delete their tweets, but not before the Sunlight Foundation got their hands on a few
. Illustrator Gary He mocked up a modern-day version of the famous 1948 photograph of then-US president Harry Truman holding up the incorrectly-headlined paper touting “Dewey Defeats Truman
“ the day after his reelection, but this time featuring US President Barack Obama with an iPad.
Most of the reactions to the law captured the overwhelming joy or anger (depending on the partisan leanings of the Tweeter) about the ruling.
Alongside a cute meme providing the latest updates about the “Affordable Care Cat
...the most amusing reaction came from DNC executive director and former White House political director Patrick Gaspard.Tweet of the Week:
The Republican reaction followed a carefully laid out strategy that included coordinated hashtags to Tweet, messages to deliver, even ready-to-go websites
to turn live for every possible Supreme Court decision, The New York Times reported
. The tag for this scenario was #fullrepeal, emphasizing that voters opposed to the law had no option left but to work against Obama’s reelection.
Former-vice presidential nominee and Republican “rogue” Sarah Palin
focused her critique on the Supreme Court's ruling that the fine associated with the Individual Mandate was a tax (and thus constitutionally within Congress’s purview to legislate), despite the administration’s great efforts to call it a penalty (because taxes are unpopular).
But no matter what tack the GOP takes now that the healthcare law is assuredly constitutional, they will have the difficult task of convincing voters that Romney has better ideas. The Individual Mandate, of course, was central to the healthcare plan he enacted in Massachusetts:Viral Video of the Week:
#USelections2012 offers weekly insight into the US presidential election through a social media lens, tracking candidates as they try to reach 270 electoral votes in 140 characters or less.The writer is a Breaking News editor and blogger at
The Jerusalem Post. Read his blog ‘The Bottom Line’ here.