Conservative justices expressed fears Tuesday that forcing Americans to buy health insurance would open the door to other intrusive requirements from the federal government.
On the second day of oral arguments over President Barack Obama’s landmark health law, the Supreme Court grappled with the linchpin of the legislation — the individual mandate.
Critics of the law argue that if the U.S. government can require Americans to buy medical insurance, it could require virtually anything else that might improve health or lower health care costs, like forcing Americans to join a gym or buy broccoli.
A potential swing vote on the court, Justice Anthony Kennedy, turned to that point early in Tuesday’s session, asking Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. if the government could require purchase of certain food, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Verrilli was also asked if the government could require the purchase of cellular phones or burial insurance, early news reports said.
“The federal government is not supposed to be a government that has all powers,” Justice Antonin Scalia said, according to Bloomberg News. “It’s supposed to be a government of limited powers.”