By the Left Coast Rebel
I've been monitoring the second day of Supreme Court Obamacare hearings all day. I'm loathe and overwhelmingly weary of having a definitive opinion on just where things might go; regardless, though, today was a very, very bad day for ObamaCare.
Especially disconcerting for me is that the SCOTUS ObamaCare decision (particularly concerning the individual mandate) looks to be coming down to one man: Justice Kennedy. I don't like that but will cross my fingers anyway.
On the Kennedy point, Professor Bainbridge has it just about right:
So this momentous decision that will affect the lives of hundreds of millions of folks comes down to the whim of one old dude in a robe. Especially this old dude, who seems to be worried mostly about his historical legacy and the opinions of the DC elite.
Click the continue reading link below for updates.
Updated: InTrade has the odds of the individual mandate being repealed at 55%. Interesting.
Updated x3: If not broccoli, then?
“If the government can do that, what else can it do?” asked Justice Antonin Scalia, referring to the individual mandate portion of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. He then questioned whether Congress could also require individuals to buy vegetables, such as broccoli.
The recent national Reason-Rupe poll of 1200 adults released yesterday shows 87 percent of Americans believe it is unconstitutional for Congress to mandate that you buy broccoli. Eight percent think Congress can constitutionally force you to buy vegetables.
A lower percent, but still a clear majority (62 percent) believe it is unconstitutional for Congress to require Americans to buy health insurance, and a 51 percent do not believe Congress should require individuals to buy health insurance.
Updated x3: Via FoxNation: Obama's lawyer -- U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli -- put on a bizarre showing today. In fact, his performance was so bizarre that I just don't quite get it; it's almost like it was staged:
On the first day of health care reform arguments before the Supreme Court, two justices needled a top Obama lawyer for simultaneously calling the fine that will be paid under the law for not purchasing insurance a “penalty” and a “tax.”
The confusion arises because of the administration’s argument that the power to enforce the individual mandate is rooted in Congress’ taxing power — but that the mechanism itself is designed to be a penalty, not a revenue-generating policy.
The narrow but important distinction created a communication challenge for the lawyer representing the Obama administration.
U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli used the phrase “tax penalty” multiple times to describe the individual mandate’s backstop. He portrayed the fee as a penalty by design, but one that functions as a tax because it’s collected through the tax code.
“General Verrilli, today you are arguing that the penalty is not a tax. Tomorrow you are going to be back and you will be arguing that the penalty is a tax,” said Justice Samuel Alito, in one of the few laugh lines throughout the 90 minutes of argument Monday.
The remark underscores the fine line the White House is walking in its argument. On one hand, it says the backstop is not a tax, because that could subject it to the Anti-Injunction Act — the focal point of Monday’s arguments — and delay a ruling to at least 2015. On the other, they claim that the power to impose a penalty derives from Congress’ broad taxing power. That’s in part because calling it a tax makes defending the mandate easier — Congress’ power to levy taxes is less in question than its power to require people to do things.
Justice Elena Kagan asked whether refusing to buy insurance would constitute breaking the law, to which Verrilli responded that if people “pay the tax, then they are in compliance with the law.” That caught the attention of Justice Stephen Breyer.
“Why do you keep saying tax?” Breyer interjected, to more laughs.
So the Cloward-Piven Orwellian useful idiot stooges arguing ObamaCare's case in front of no less than SCOTUS are just that, stooges? Color me, well... something doesn't add up on Verrilli's performance.
Takeaway: American socialism needs better communicators?