Scalia a health care swing vote? Obama administration not counting out conservative justices

In three weeks, the Supreme Court will entertain arguments over President Obama’s health care law. At the heart of the entire law is the individual mandate, which requires every American to have health insurance coverage or pay a penalty.

Though Justice Anthony Kennedy is often viewed as the swing vote on the current court, the administration isn’t counting out the possibility it could win its case by persuading one of the so-called conservatives.

In its briefs, the administration has frequently quoted from a 2005 opinion written by Justice Antonin Scalia. In that case, Scalia wrote that Congress may use its authority under the Commerce Clause — pertaining to interstate commerce — to regulate an individual who wanted to grow medicinal marijuana at home and then sell it.

The Commerce Clause is, of course, the basis for the government’s position that the individual mandate is constitutional.



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