Affordable Health Care: “It’s not your free choice,” according to Justice Ginsburg

Mar 27, 2012

Supreme Court Hears Arguments On Constitutionality Of Health Care Law

Demonstrators for and against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act march and chant in outside the U.S. Supreme Court Building on March 26, 2012 in Washington, DC. The high court, which has set aside six hours over three days, will hear arguments over the constitutionality of the act. Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Welcome to day two of the Supreme Court’s hearings on the constitutionality of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. What’s on the table? Only the individual mandate itself, as well as whether the rest of the law could stand without the mandate, and whether the possible expansion of Medicaid coverage is legal.

Analysts have begun to parse the justices’ every word for anything that might indicate an opinion, especially in the cases of Justice Anthony Kennedy and Chief Justice John Roberts, who are considered to be the swing votes.

Some already believe the case to be a lost cause based on comments like this one, from Justice Kennedy: “[This] threatens to change the relationship between the government and the individual in a profound way.”

Do you agree with the analysts’ conclusions? Should buying health care be a “free choice?” Patt plays Chief Justice and we review this morning’s arguments.


Sylvia Law, professor of law, medicine, and psychiatry at New York University Law School

Ilya Shapiro, senior fellow in Constitutional Studies and editor-in-chief, Cato Supreme Court Review; he filed four amicus briefs in this case and was present at today’s arguments

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