The Wall Street Journal writes today, “Supreme Court justices on Monday weighed whether the challenge to President Barack Obama’s health-care law is ripe for a decision, opening three days of argument on the law with a string of skeptical questions for a lawyer who said the high court should wait. . . . The health-care law requires most Americans to carry health insurance or pay a penalty, starting in 2014. . . . News media packed the court Monday morning for the case, its most closely watched in years, and dozens of people lined up for as long as 2½ days to get seats in the courtroom. Hundreds of activists gathered outside the court. . . . The most closely watched issue in the case is whether Congress exceeded its constitutional powers by passing a mandate requiring most Americans to carry health insurance or pay a penalty. . . . The Supreme Court has scheduled six hours of oral arguments on the health-care law. The main attraction comes Tuesday, when the court considers the constitutionality of the insurance mandate. On Wednesday, the court will consider whether the rest of the health-care overhaul can remain intact if the insurance mandate is ruled invalid.”
Since Democrats jammed this law through Congress, Senate Republicans have argued that it is unconstitutional and should be struck down by the Supreme Court. GOP senators, led by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, filed amicus briefs with the Court earlier this year on behalf of the multi-state challenge to the law, after having twice submitted briefs to lower courts supporting challenges to the law. One Senate Republican brief argues, “Put simply, Congress acted without constitutional authority in enacting the Individual Mandate of the [health care law]. In so doing, it has damaged Congress’ institutional legitimacy and has triggered severe conflicts between state and federal governments that the Constitution was carefully designed to avert.” The other brief argues that if the Court finds the mandate unconstitutional, as Senate Republicans argue it should, then the Court should overturn the whole law, not just the mandate.
Americans agree that the mandate is unconstitutional. A recent Gallup poll found that “Americans overwhelmingly believe the ‘individual mandate,’ as it is often called, is unconstitutional, by a margin of 72% to 20%.” And even a majority of Democrats in the poll agrees with this position.
As Leader McConnell said in the Weekly Republican Address Saturday, “[A]s we mark the two-year anniversary of the signing of Obamacare this week, Republicans in Congress are more committed than ever to repealing this unconstitutional law and replacing it with the kind of common-sense reforms Americans really want, reforms that actually lower costs, and which put health care back in the hands of individuals and their doctors, rather than unaccountable bureaucrats here in Washington. As it happens, this year’s anniversary happens to fall on the eve of historic Supreme Court arguments on Obamacare. Beginning on Monday, the nation’s highest court will hold three days of arguments to decide, among other things, whether the law’s mandate that Americans must buy government-approved health insurance is consistent with the U.S. Constitution. As one of many public officials who filed a brief before the court opposing this bill, I believe it isn’t. But even if the court disagrees with me, the consequences of this bill are reason enough to make repeal a top priority. . . . Obamacare clearly isn’t the answer. And two years after its passage, Americans have now come to their own conclusion. They don’t like it, they think it’s unconstitutional, and they want it repealed.”