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The centerpiece of the new federal health care law, and its most controversial part – the individual insurance mandate – looked to be doomed after the first hour of the Supreme
Court’s hearing on it Tuesday.
Amid sure signs that the Supreme Court Justices are deeply interested in the constitutionality of the new health care law’s key sections, and definite signs that they have been studying up for the task, they moved on Monday to get beyond the preliminaries and get set for Tuesday’s crucial two-hour hearing.
Few exercises in interpreting the Constitution are as bizarre as the one that the Supreme Court and lower courts go through if they strike down only a part of a multi-faceted law, and then decide what of the remainder can survive.
For both lawyers, most of the questions coming from the bench probably will be about Congress’s powers under the Commerce Clause, though some will explore the Necessary and Proper Clause, and at least a few questions may focus on the mandate as a form of tax.