Questions Asked May Signal Supreme Court Opposed To Individual Mandate
If the questions the 3 “swing” justices asked today are any indication — and, honestly, they may not be — ObamaCare’s mandate may be in deep trouble.
Even before the administration’s top lawyer could get three minutes into his defense of the mandate, some justices accused the government of pushing for excessive authority to require Americans to buy anything.
“Are there any limits,” asked Justice Anthony Kennedy, one of three conservative justices whose votes are seen as crucial to the fate of the unprecedented insurance mandate.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. suggested that the government might require Americans to buy cellphones to be ready for emergencies. And Justice Antonin Scalia asked if the government might require Americans to buy broccoli or automobiles.
“If the government can do this, what else can it … do?” Scalia asked.
Justices Kennedy, Roberts, and Scalia are considered to be the possible “swing” votes on the court, especially Kennedy, who isn’t nearly as conservative as Roberts or Scalia. The four lefty justices are expected to vote as a bloc to uphold, and no one in their right mind thinks that Justices Alito or Thomas will join the lefties in voting to uphold, so it comes down to Roberts, Scalia, and above all, Kennedy.
That’s why Kennedy’s questions about where the limits are is so important to those of us watching this closely… if Kennedy believes that, for example, government could mandate everyone to purchase broccoli, or a Chevy Volt, or an Obama bumper sticker, he’s likely to recoil from upholding such a mandate.
“That changes the relationship of the individual to the federal government,” Kennedy said.
Indeed it does, Justice… and that’s why it needs to be struck down.
UPDATE: The Hill has another Kennedy comment that may be indicative of the way he’s leaning:
Kennedy argued the court has a “very heavy burden of justification” for requiring that people purchase insurance.
Sounds like Kennedy may be a vote to throw out at least the mandate.