“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?”

“The Supreme Court will not be ruling about matters of partisan conviction, or the President’s re-election campaign, or even about health care at all. The lawsuit filed by 26 states and the National Federation of Independent Business is about the outer boundaries of federal power and the architecture of the U.S. political system.”

“The argument here is that health care is an important problem facing this country, and the administration’s preferred remedy for that problem can’t be carried out without the individual mandate. The mandate, therefore, is a ‘necessary and proper’ way to accomplish its larger goals. Again, this would open the door to unlimited government power. If the government has the authority to enact any law it deems necessary to doing whatever it wants to do, the Constitution essentially becomes meaningless.”

“Congress could have achieved this wealth transfer in perfectly constitutional ways. It could simply have imposed new taxes to pay for a national health system. But that would have come with a huge political price tag that neither Congress nor the president was prepared to pay. Instead, Congress adopted the individual mandate, invoking its power to regulate interstate commerce.”

“The presence of externalities and other market imperfections does not justify a departure from the normal rules of the constitutional road. Health care is typically consumed locally, and health-insurance markets themselves primarily operate within the states. The administration’s attempt to fashion a singular, universal solution is not necessary to deal with the variegated issues arising in these markets. States have taken the lead in past reform efforts. They should be an integral part of improving the functioning of health-care and health-insurance markets.”