The Big Take Away from Today’s Question and Answer at the Supreme Court

From the WSJ’s live blog, covering the ObamaCare case in the Supreme Court:

Tough questions came from the possible Supreme Court swing vote, Justice Anthony Kennedy, in the first thirty minutes of oral argument Tuesday morning on whether the federal government can require most Americans to carry insurance or pay a fee.

Mr. Kennedy has been challenging Solicitor General Donald Verrilli to answer what the justice says is a “very heavy burden of justification” to show where the Constitution authorizes Congress to change the relation of the individual to the government.

It is not just the WSJ that picked up on the fact that there is trouble in ObamaCare mandate land.  The LA Times, in an article titled “Justices signal possible trouble for health insurance mandate,” reports:

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.

An extended discussion about burial insurance (everyone will die) also animated the proceedings, but the Justices were skeptical of allowing the government the power to mandate individuals must purchase ________ (fill in the blank).

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