The nation's capital is focused on the Supreme Court this week, and that includes members of Congress. Wednesday is the third day justices will hear arguments considering the constitutionality of President Obama's health care overhaul.
Last year, several states passed strict laws aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration. Those laws are now being challenged in federal court, and next month the Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on Arizona's immigration law — but that hasn't stopped some Southern states from moving forward with more restrictions.
After Tuesday's judicial fireworks, the Supreme Court wraps up arguments on the new health care law Wednesday by focusing on two questions. The first involves what would happen if the "individual mandate" — the core of the law that requires most people to have health insurance — is struck down. Would the rest of the law fall, too, or could some provisions stay?
In its second-to-last argument over the Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ponders a what-if.
Specifically, if the justices decide that Congress exceeded its constitutional authority in enacting the part of the law that requires most Americans to either have health insurance starting in 2014 or pay a penalty, does that invalidate the rest of the law? And if not, how much, if any, of the rest of the law should it strike down?
It was a question that seemed to be one of the most difficult for the current solicitor general, Donald Verrilli Jr., to answer persuasively, at least to the obvious satisfaction of the conservative justices: If the individual mandate for the purchase of health insurance was found constitutional, what would limit Congress from passing other laws requiring people to buy products from broccoli to cellphones?