Final Day's Arguments Might Help ObamaCare

Justices flummoxed about what happens if mandate falls: Lyle Denniston
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 28, 2012 5:20 PM CDT
Paul Clement, a lawyer for 26 states seeking to have the law overturned, leaves the Supreme Court.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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(Newser) – Court watcher Lyle Denniston at SCOTUSblog thinks today's arguments at the Supreme Court bode well for President Obama's health care law. His reasoning? Most justices seemed worried that if they struck down the central part of the law—the individual mandate requiring everyone to buy insurance—it would be too "onerous" for them or Congress to figure which portions of the 2,700-page legislation should stand.

The court "spent 91 minutes Wednesday operating on the assumption that it would strike down the key feature of the new health care law, but may have convinced itself in the end not to do that because of just how hard it would be to decide what to do after that," writes Denniston. It could, of course, just hand off the job to Congress, but Antonin Scalia noted how hard it would be to get something passed in the filibuster-happy Senate. Anthony Kennedy agreed, suggesting that only a "hypothetical Congress" could get the job done. "The net effect may well have shored up support for the individual insurance mandate itself," writes Denniston. (Need an opposing view? CNN's Jeffrey Toobin remains very skeptical about the law's prospects, notes Mediaite.)

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