Jonathan Chait is worried that the Supremes might kill health care reform, and research showing that such a move would be highly unlikely on the merits does not convince him -- and for evidence, he cites Bush v. Gore. If a five-person majority on the Court is willing to act arbitrarily in one instance, why not others?
I think, though, that it's an argument that assumes either too much or too little. Accepting for the sake of argument that Bush v. Gore was arbitrary, I would say that if so it basically stands alone; I'm not aware of any other case in which the Court dropped in, made a decision for apparently pure political reasons, and then told everyone to ignore the logic and decision of the case as a precedent. Could they do that again with health care reform? Sure -- but if that, why not any other program that they disagree with? In which case we all have much bigger problems than the fate of health care reform.
On the other hand, what if they simply find against health care reform by changing precedent. The article referred to above is about "deem and pass," but there are also going to be legal challenges, or at least rumblings about challenges, on a whole host of substantive measures (such as the individual mandate). If the Court goes after health care by changing doctrine, either over Congressional procedure or substance, once again there are bigger problems than health care reform. In the one case, any bill passed with a self-executing rule would be in trouble, and there are lots of those; in the other, well, it would depend on what the court does, but it would be difficult to knock out health care reform without endangering plenty of other laws, many of which are very popular. That doesn't mean the Court won't do it, but only that the real problem in that case is the Court, not health care reform.
But as for the one-shot method, well, I think Chait might as well be worried that they'd just rule the thing null and void on the grounds that Barack Obama isn't a legitimate president, what with being born in Kenya and all. Chait doesn't think they'd do that, does he?
(Yes, I'll admit it -- I'm just trying to give him nightmares. Sorry).