“Many of its opponents were passionately convinced that ObamaCare marked an unprecedented and ominous interference by the federal government in the lives of American citizens. At the root of these fears lay the provision of the program known as the individual mandate. If the government could make us buy health insurance, or incur a penalty for failing to, what could stop it from compelling people to purchase electric cars, memberships in a health club, or, that old favorite, broccoli—indeed, anything at all?”

“The main argument for a mandate before the Supreme Court was that people of modest means can fail to buy insurance, and then rely on charity care in emergency rooms, shifting the cost to the rest of us. But the expenses of emergency room treatment for indigent uninsured people are not health-care’s central cost problem. Costs are rising because people who do have insurance, and their doctors, overuse health services and don’t shop on price, and because regulations have salted insurance with ever more coverage for them to overuse.”

“President Obama is backtracking from his remarks challenging the Supreme Court’s power to strike down congressionally approved laws after a federal judge demanded that the Justice Department clarify Obama’s views. Obama’s remarks about the Supreme Court’s power to kill his health care reform law simply lacked proper context, administration officials argued Wednesday.”

“Hitherto, most attention has been given to whether Congress, under its constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce, may coerce individuals into engaging in commerce by buying health insurance. Now the Institute for Justice (IJ), a libertarian public interest law firm, has focused on this fact: The individual mandate is incompatible with centuries of contract law. This is so because a compulsory contract is an oxymoron.”

“The Obama administration rushed its landmark health law to the Supreme Court to get some clarity over its future. So far, all they have is mud. After three days and six hours of arguments, a core provision in President Barack Obama’s signature health law appears to be in serious danger. And Wednesday, it looked quite possible that the entire law could fall.”

“The great irony is that, for all the talk of Obamacare’s death panels—bodies of unelected government officials that would ration care for the elderly—it’s another unelected panel, the Supreme Court, that may end up delivering the kiss of death to the ACA.”

“For along with the dollars-and-cents issues, ObamaCare nationalizes a number of big moral and philosophical questions, some of the same ones Madison was sure would stay at the states’ level. The most obvious of these concern our concepts of justice, charity, liberty, and even more profoundly, questions of when life begins and how it should end.”

“Republican lawmakers leaving oral arguments before the Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed that the government will have a tough time finding a fifth justice to uphold the health law’s individual mandate. Democrats for their part found solace in pointed questioning of lawyers on both sides of the argument by Justices Anthony Kennedy and Chief Justice John Roberts. Their outlook coming out of the court, however, was visibly less sunny than the Republicans’.”

“In time, high taxes, large subsidies, and extensive mandatory contractual terms in tandem could well drive most private plans out of business… Where and when the tipping point comes, no one can say in advance, and perhaps some tenacious and well-run private plans may ultimately survive. But in the end, our gloomy prediction is that in the absence of a major change in course, a regulatory cascade will first force some plans to fail, after which other private plans will topple like tenpins.”

“The Constitution is an ‘evolving’ document, we’re told by those on the left, conforming to ‘standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society.’ But who gets to decide which direction the evolution goes? Who is the arbiter of enlightenment, the adjudicator of decent standards, the fount of all human wisdom? Give yourself a gold star if you answered ‘a Supreme Court Justice.’ Because surely Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer know more about standards of decency than — well, than whom exactly?”