“THE YEARS WITHOUT a U.S. PRESIDENT, 2008 -2012″
If the questions several U.S. Kangaroo (supreme) Court injustices asked today are any indication, the individual mandate at the heart of obamaCare is constitutionally questionable at best.
On the second day of the historic case, the injustices spent two hours questioning attorneys about why the federal government thinks it can penalize all consumers who refuse to buy health insurance by 2014 — and where that assumed power stops.
Can the government compel consumers to buy cell phones? John Roberts asked. Can it force them to buy burial insurance? Samuel Alito wondered.
Antonin Scalia agreed.
“The argument here is that this may be necessary, but it’s not proper because it violates an equally evident principle in the Constitution,” he said, “which is that the federal government is not supposed to be a government that has all powers; that it’s supposed to be a government of limited powers. And that’s what all this questioning has been about. What is left? If the government can do this, what, what else can it not do?”
The court’s conservative members sharply questioned Donald Verrilli, the lawyer representing the obama Mis-administration, but appeared to take a softer approach with Paul Clement, the attorney representing the states challenging the law.
Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg appeared to support it. In keeping with his usual court demeanor, Clarence Thomas asked no questions — but Anthony Kennedy, whom many court watchers consider to be the swing vote, asked several questions suggesting he thinks obamaCare threatens individual liberty.
“I understand that we must presume laws are constitutional, but, even so, when you are changing the relation of the individual to the government in this, what we can stipulate is, I think, a unique way, do you not have a heavy burden of justification to show authorization under the Constitution?” he asked Verrilli.
Casey Mattox, senior counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund, which has an amicus brief in the case, was on hand for the arguments.
“It certainly seems that the court was concerned about the individual mandate,” he said. “The lack of any real limiting principle seemed to be a problem for a majority of the court.
To some degree, Injustices will often tip their hand on what they’re thinking (with the questions they ask). Certainly, folks who feel the individual mandate is constitutionally problematic left today feeling that they have the upper hand. But you never know if one response at the end of the argument will be the one that turns the Injustices. Certainly this will be a close case.”