Obama’s health care law may be on life support. After three days of oral arguments before the Supreme Court in the challenge to the health care bill signed into law two years ago, the future of the law is very uncertain.
It’s clear that supporters of the law were rocked by how aggressive the questioning was by Justices Kennedy and Breyer – two justices that are key to which way the decision goes. The Left is also very unhappy with Obama’s Solicitor General. Mother Jones wrote, “If the law is upheld, it will be in spite of Verrilli’s performance, not because of it.”
I was struck my Kennedy’s first question right out of the box, “Can you create commerce in order to regulate it?” That is how a Supreme Court Justice “gets up in your grill.”
Justices Scalia, Alito and Chief Justice Roberts also asked withering questions. Justice Thomas was typically silent – he hasn’t asked a question in the last six years. It is assumed that those four are near-certain to support striking down the individual mandate and based on Kennedy’s questioning, he could be the fifth vote.
What has alarmed the Left more than anything is the discussion in the final day of arguments when the Court discussed whether it was more reasonable to overturn the entire law if they agree that the individual mandate is struck down.
While I strongly believe that the individual mandate is unconstitutional, and have been cautiously optimistic that the Court would so rule, I have been very pessimistic about the Court overturning the entire law. That would be a nice gift to the American people if it were to happen.
Transcripts of the three days of arguments are here: