Many of us might be watching the Supreme Court with more than a little anxiety as we wait for a final decision on the Affordable Care Act, but Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was able to add a little humor to the situation in a discussion on Friday:
“No contest since the court invited new briefs and arguments in ‘Citizens United’ (a 2009-10 campaign finance spending case) has attracted more attention — in the press, the academy,” she said. “Some have described the controversy as unprecedented and they may be right if they mean the number of press conferences, prayer circles, protests, counter protests, going on outside the court while oral argument was under way inside.”
She then explained– with a dollop of humor– the four issues the court was considering, including the main focus: the constitutionality of the individual mandate, which would require nearly all Americans to buy health insurance starting in 2014 or face a financial penalty.
“If the individual mandate, requiring the purchase of insurance or the payment of a penalty, if that is unconstitutional, must the entire act fall?” she said, then outlining another key question. “Or, may the mandate be chopped, like a head of broccoli, from the rest of the act?”
That brought laughter to the knowing crowd, since many critics warn giving Congress the power to force the mandate on people would be a “slippery slope” — and that lawmakers could then force people to buy broccoli in the name of ensuring a healthy populace.
So do you think that the individual health insurance mandate can be chopped like a head of broccoli? Tell us about it in our discussion forum!
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