Politico: Obama Targeting Supreme Court Conservatives On Health Law

The U.S. Supreme Court considers the health law this month. (OZinOH/flickr)
The U.S. Supreme Court considers the health law this month. (OZinOH/flickr)

Politico reports on the administration's strategy targeting conservative justices on the high court, hoping that at least one of them will rule in favor of the law. Here's a run-down of the government's approach, including a play for Scalia:

Administration lawyers have peppered their briefs with citations to opinions written by Anthony Kennedy and Antonin Scalia, they’ve seized on the arguments made by one of Scalia’s most beloved former clerks and their allies in legal circles have talked up how a decision upholding the Affordable Care Act would play into John Roberts’s legacy as chief justice.

A long shot? Maybe, but it’s the only shot the administration has on a court dominated 5-4 by conservatives...

He might seem like one of the least likely candidates to support the constitutionality of the individual mandate. But the Obama administration is directly courting Scalia’s vote.

And because his stamp of approval on the requirement that Americans buy insurance in 2014 would be so surprising, it could also go the furthest in appeasing conservatives who steadfastly oppose the law.
In their defense of the mandate, Obama’s lawyers cite Scalia’s own words in a 2005 case at least five times.
In the Gonzales v. Raich case, Scalia wrote that Congress can regulate a person who wanted to grow legal medicinal marijuana in her home. He said that Congress could do it under the Commerce Clause because the marijuana was “never more than an instant from the interstate market.”

The federal government argues that Congress can regulate the purchase of health insurance in the same way.

This program aired on March 1, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

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Rachel Zimmerman Reporter
Rachel Zimmerman previously reported on health and the intersection of health and business for WBUR. She is working on a memoir about rebuilding her family after her husband’s suicide. 



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