in Houston, Texas
Supreme Court hears arguments today on health care requirement that all individuals buy health insurance; Texas AG: Law has ‘gripped the entire nation’
Tuesday, Mar 27, 2012, 09:49AM CST
By Mark Lisheron

The Supreme Court has set aside two hours today to hear why requiring Americans to buy health insurance has or does not have legal grounding in the Constitution.

This is the second of three days of testimony in a lawsuit to invalidate the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, brought by Texas, 25 other states, the National Federation of Independent Business and two individual plaintiffs.

The court is expected to rule on the suit sometime in June.

As articulated by Attorney General Greg Abbott of Texas, the lawsuit contends the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, violates the Constitution by forcing Americans to engage in commerce without their consent under threat of penalty.

The legal defense for the health care law is expected to argue that the universal need for health care creates an environment in which everyone is engaged in its commerce, whether through health insurance, their own savings or at the expense of the government and the American health care system, according to a story today by the Washington Post.

Justices on Monday showed little inclination toward an argument that they withhold judgment on Obamacare until after 2014 when the insurance mandate takes effect and only after lawsuits are brought challenging the mandate and the penalties, the Wall Street Journal is reporting.

Court-appointed attorney Robert Long invoked the Anti-Injunction Act, put in place by the federal government in the 1800s to keep tax revenue flowing by giving itself the power to delay lawsuits over tax assessments.

The argument has neither the support of the authors of the health care act nor its opponents.

Following Monday’s arguments, Abbott, Gov. Rick Perry and Comptroller Susan Combs reiterated their calls for the repeal of Obamacare, the Dallas Morning News says.

"I have been here to the U.S. Supreme Court multiple times, and I've never seen crowds like this,” Abbott said in a press release issued Monday. “The entire plaza around the Supreme Court is completely crowded with protesters against Obamacare and with supporters of Obamacare. This shows that this law is something that has gripped the entire nation.”

Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or or on Twitter at @marktxwatchdog.

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