U.S. Supreme Court justices viewed as potential “swing voters” spent the second day of oral arguments on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) asking whether Congress really has the authority to regulate inactivity in the health insurance market.
We’ve embedded the PDF of the transcript for Case Number 11-393 here, so that you can read it for yourself and come to your own conclusions about how the day went and whether one side or the other has rounded up the support of 5 or more of the 9 justices.
For up-to-the-minute coverage of the Supreme Court oral arguments on PPACA, visit www.lifehealthpro.com/PPACA
Some observers have suggested that Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy may be the likeliest candidate to provide the “fifth vote” that PPACA supporters need to keep the PPACA provision requiring many individuals to own health insurance — and PPACA itself — alive.
Toward the end of oral arguments, for example, Kennedy said to U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. — the lawyer for the Obama administration — that he finds the implications of the individual mandate “concerning” because “it requires the individual to do an affirmative act.”
“In the law of torts our tradition, our law, has been that you don’t have the duty to rescue someone if that person is in danger,” Kennedy said. “The blind man is walking in front of a car and you do not have a duty to stop him absent some relation between you. And there is some severe moral criticisms of that rule, but that’s generally the rule.
“And here the government is saying that the federal government has a duty to tell the individual citizen that it must act, and that is different from what we have in previous cases and that changes the relationship of the federal government to the individual in the very fundamental way.”