Updated 03/27/2012 08:53 PM
Supreme Court hearings continue over health care debate
Day two of arguments has ended in the U.S. Supreme Court. Justices are trying to decide whether President Barack Obama's health care overhaul is constitutional. Our Erin Billups is in our Washington, D.C. bureau with more on some of the heated questions coming from the justices.
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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As expected, the four more liberal Supreme Court judges aimed their questions at the plaintiff, those representing the 26 states challenging the President’s Affordable Care Act. And attorneys defending the health care overhaul faced a barrage of questions from the four right-leaning justices.
"Could you define the market? Everybody has to buy food sooner or later, so you define the market as food. Therefore, everybody's in the market. Therefore, you can make people buy broccoli," Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said.
The Individual mandate provision was at the heart of Tuesday's arguments, whether it's constitutional to require people to get health care or pay a penalty. Opponents of the law say the questions asked by Justice Anthony Kennedy, considered the wild card on the bench, are a sign that the mandate would be repealed.
"I was a little surprised that he showed his hand as much as he did,” said Ilya Shapiro of the CATO Institute. “The questions he was asking made it clear that the idea that the government's position doesn't lend itself to an easy limiting principal is high and forefront in his mind."
But just as those on the right felt vindicated by the line of questioning, so did those on the left. Pointing to comments made by Chief Justice John Roberts, who corrected the plaintiffs’ attorneys several times for misrepresenting the government's argument and also praised the Solicitor General for points he made.
"I thought that was an important part of your argument, that when you need health care, the government will make sure that you get it," Roberts said.
So it seems most are looking to Kennedy and Roberts to provide the pivotal votes.
"I think both of their votes are in play and we probably won't know until June how they ultimately come down," said Ian Millhiser of the Center for American Progress.
Wednesday is the last day of arguments. The focus will be whether the rest of the law can take effect, even if the mandate is declared unconstitutional, and whether law goes too far in making states expand Medicaid by threatening to cut off federal aid if they don't comply.