Supreme Court Justices Question Excessive Authority of Health Care Mandate

March 27, 2012 ( – On day two of the Supreme Court’s hearing on the health care reform law, justices voiced questions about the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate. 

According to news reports, the justices’ questions indicated they might split 5-to-4, to overturn the law.

Some of the justices stated the government was pushing for excessive authority over Americans by requiring them to buy anything. Justices Antonin Gregory Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, John Roberts and Samuel Alito repeatedly criticized the requirement to buy health insurance as forcing people to enter a market, which according to the justices is a new and troubling use of federal power.

“That changes the relationship of the individual to the federal government,” said Justice Kennedy.

Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. attempted to argue that the health care mandate would not open the door for the government to require Americans to buy other products.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spoke on behalf of the government, pointing out that people who choose not to buy health care affect the market place by shifting the costs to those people who are insured, doctors and the insurance companies.

Paul D. Clement, who is arguing on behalf of 26 states challenging the law, said the individual mandate was “an unprecedented effort to compel an individual to enter into commerce” and said the law was “without any limiting principles.”

The court transcripts from Tuesday can be viewed in their entirety at