It's a bit less likely now than a week ago that you'll hear people accuse the Supreme Court of being politicized.
That's because this week, the court ended its session with two controversial decisions — neither one of which was decided on the usual and predictable split between the five justices appointed by Republican presidents and the four appointed by Democrats.
But that doesn't make the court any less of a political animal.
When the Supreme Court upheld the central tenet of President Obama's health care law, it meant that several lower court fights on other aspects of the sweeping legislation can move forward.
Those cases, including high-profile lawsuits by Catholic organizations challenging the law's contraception coverage rules, would, obviously, have been affected if the court had found the individual mandate unconstitutional or struck down the law in its entirety.
But with the law intact, the lawsuits — many of them held in abeyance pending the high court's decision — will proceed.
We're joined now by our regular political commentators, columnist E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post and the Brookings Institution, and David Brooks of the New York Times. Both of you in Aspen, Colorado today for the Aspen Ideas Festival. Gentlemen, welcome.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. Here's some evidence that things can still get done on Capital Hill. Today, both the House and Senate passed a compromise bill to reauthorize highway and infrastructure projects and keep student loan interest rates from going up.
In 2009, as President Obama was trying to convince Congress to pass his health care legislation, he stridently refused to characterize as a "tax" the penalty that would be imposed for not obtaining insurance under the law's individual mandate.
On Thursday, Chief Justice John Roberts begged to differ — while using the tax classification to save Obama's signature domestic accomplishment by a single Supreme Court vote.
We want to get another angle on yesterday's Supreme Court decision on health care. The health care law would not have survived without the support of Chief Justice John Roberts. That support was surprising to many people, perhaps even shocking. He'd been seen as a solid conservative vote in the court but this week two opinions are making people rethink that: yesterday's health care decision and one earlier this week striking down much of Arizona's immigration enforcement law.