Guy Benson

Ah, memories:
 


 

Reporter: Where, specifically, does the Constitution grant Congress the authority to enact an individual health insurance mandate?

Pelosi: Are you serious?  Are you serious?


It seems the Supreme Court has an answer, regardless of how they ultimately come down:  "Yes, actually."
 

President Obama's national health care law is in trouble. In two hours of oral arguments, justices of the U.S. Supreme Court seemed extremely skeptical that the law's key mandate forcing individuals to purchase health insurance was a valid exercise of constitutional power and expressed fears that upholding it would give Congress unprececdented and unlimited power.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, long seen as the swing vote in the case, repeatedly said that the mandate was unprecedented and that the government had a "heavy burden" to justify it. He said that it changed the relationship between the individual and the government in a "fundamental" way. Also, one of the key arguments made by challengers in the case, is that earlier rulings of the Commerce Clause don't apply here because the mandate forces people to enter the stream of commerce. On this point, Kennedy asked Obama's solicitor general Donald Verrilli, "can you create commerce in order to regulate it?"


The universal sense coming out of today's oral arguments -- right, left, and center -- is that the session was a disaster for the White House. That said, let's establish an important stipulation: Oral arguments are not necessarily dispositive when it comes to predicting final rulings, and everything remains speculative.  However, the Left's scoffing and sneering regarding legal challenges to Obamacare -- embodied by Pelosi's incredulous dismissal above -- has proven to be way off base.  This monstrosity could go down.  And the American people would cheer.


Guy Benson

Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Senior Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography