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Kennedy Skepticism Signals Trouble for Health Law

Anthony Kennedy, other conservative doesn't sound sold on individual mandate
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 27, 2012 12:09 PM CDT

(Newser) – The gist going into today's arguments on health care reform seemed to be that the law would be upheld. But the tone in coverage looks to be shifting after swing vote Anthony Kennedy voiced skepticism about the individual mandate during two hours of oral arguments at the Supreme Court. At one point, Kennedy asked whether the government could force people to buy certain types of food, reports Politico. The mandate "is a step beyond what our cases allow," he said, according to AP. To survive, Obama's reform will likely need the vote of Kennedy or one of the court's other four conservatives. "It was not clear that it had captured one," writes Adam Liptak of the New York Times.

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“So if I’m in any market at all, my failure to purchase subjects me to regulation?” Antonin Scalia asked, reports the Washington Post. Similarly, Chief Justice John Roberts wondered whether the government could force every citizen to buy cell phones. Ruth Bader Ginsburg defended the law: "The people who don’t participate in this market are making it much more expensive for those that do." To which Scalia responded, “You could say that about buying a car. If people don’t buy a car, the price [that car buyers] will pay will be more.” Click for more. (Read more ObamaCare stories.)

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