In its second-to-last argument over the Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ponders a what-if.
Specifically, if the justices decide that Congress exceeded its constitutional authority in enacting the part of the law that requires most Americans to either have health insurance starting in 2014 or pay a penalty, does that invalidate the rest of the law? And if not, how much, if any, of the rest of the law should it strike down?
Last year, several states passed strict laws aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration. Those laws are now being challenged in federal court, and next month the Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on Arizona's immigration law — but that hasn't stopped some Southern states from moving forward with more restrictions.
It was a question that seemed to be one of the most difficult for the current solicitor general, Donald Verrilli Jr., to answer persuasively, at least to the obvious satisfaction of the conservative justices: If the individual mandate for the purchase of health insurance was found constitutional, what would limit Congress from passing other laws requiring people to buy products from broccoli to cellphones?
Originally published on Tue March 27, 2012 3:11 pm
Credit Mark Wilson / Getty Images
The talent show outside the U.S. Supreme Court continued Tuesday as activists for and against President Obama's health care law sought to outdo each other with ever more artistic forms of protest.
At one point a middle-aged group of women started singing in harmony with a young drummer at their side. "Health care for everyone, I'm gonna let it shine," they sang soulfully to the tune of the hymn "This Little Light of Mine."
A clearly divided U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday took up the centerpiece of President Obama's health care law: its requirement that by 2014 individuals have insurance coverage or face a penalty.
In contrast to Monday's dense and technical arguments, Tuesday's session was filled with sharp rhetorical volleys and clever analogies. Here are some of the more telling exchanges between the lawyers and the high court justices.