In a three-day marathon of debates, the Supreme Court justices are now faced with the task of deciding the fate of the Affordable Care Act, which has been the centerpiece of the Obama Administration’s legislation.
The debating started on Monday, March 26 and carried through Wednesday, March 28. The Affordable Care Act was broken down into four individual parts. Each one will be voted on by Supreme Court Justices to decide the law’s future. Each portion will have its own session of deliberation. The most controversial portion is the “individual mandate,” which would require citizens and employers to purchase health insurance or face penalties from the IRS.
The main point made by those fighting against the law is if the government can force you to purchase healthcare, then they can force you to buy things like healthy foods, vitamins, etc.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, always viewed as a “swing voter,” commented on the relationship between the individual and the government.
“When you are changing the relation of the individual to the government in this mandate,” he told the solicitor general at one point. “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?”
There are 26 states fighting against the health care law, and they are represented by Paul D. Clement. Clement faced off against Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr.
The Justices then met in a closed-door session on Friday, March 30 to begin deliberations and hold a preliminary vote on the law. From here, writing assignments will be made and a tedious process of forming opinions will commence.
The public and the Obama Administration will have to wait anxiously without the assistance of press releases. Many hold to the notion that if the individual mandate is struck down by the court then it will be a domino effect on the rest of the bill. It would also be detrimental to the President himself, providing ammunition to his Republican counterparts in the upcoming presidential debates.