You didn’t know he could do that? He could, and for weeks conservative groups were urging him to do so. New Jersey’s Democratic legislature had passed, with little dissension, a health care exchange that would come into effect as the Affordable Care Act did. Today gave Christie his last chance to veto the exchange bill. He took it. The Christie part of the official statement:
I am concerned that a hastily created exchange in New Jersey will impose unnecessary obligations upon the State’s taxpayers. The very constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act is cloaked in uncertainty, as both the individual mandate to procure health insurance as well as the jurisdictional mandate to establish an exchange may not survive scrutiny by the Supreme Court. Because it is not known whether the Affordable Care Act will remain, in whole or in part, it would be imprudent for New Jersey to create an exchange at this moment in time before critical threshold issues are decided with finality by the Court.
So Christie gets to oppose the exchange – an act of dissent pioneered by much more conservative legislators in redder states. He doesn’t have to make his own call on the wisdom of the exchanges, or of Obamacare. He defers to the Supreme Court’s wisdom, as governors in ultra-red Georgia and South Dakota have already done. Conservative voters give him credit for throwing a spanner in the works, but he doesn’t have to make any sort of complicated Randy Barnett arguments about what he thinks – arguments that might put distance between his health care theories and Mitt Romney’s.