By Rebekah Rast — “Here the government is saying the federal government has a duty to tell citizens it must act,” says Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy during the Obamacare oral arguments, and the idea of forcing individuals to purchase health insurance changes the relationship between the government and the person “in a fundamental way.”
Taking this a step further, Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito also posed the question: If the individual mandate within Obamacare is found constitutional, then couldn’t the government also require people to carry funeral insurance or buy food.
“Clearly Justice Kennedy and Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia and Alito see the far-reaching implications that a ruling in favor of an individual mandate would create—which would go far beyond regulation in individual insurance decisions to regulation of every facet of human existence,” says Bill Wilson, president of Americans for Limited Government (ALG).
In Monday’s oral arguments the government’s lawyer Solicitor General Donald Verrilli argued that Obamacare was not a tax for the purposes of the Anti-Injunction Act, which is an 1867 law stating that taxes can’t be argued until they’ve been paid. Today, Verrilli sang a different tune saying Obamacare is indeed a tax as it relates to the constitutional merits of the individual mandate.
Wednesday’s arguments will be pivotal in the arguments of severability. If the individual mandate is ruled unconstitutional, will the Court find this mandate affects too much of the law and then throw out Obamacare in its entirety as unconstitutional?
For more up-to-date information on the Supreme Court oral arguments, please visit: ObamacareWatcher.org.