|MARK SHERMAN and PETE YOST, Associated Press|
On the third and last day of arguments, the justices appeared to accept the administration's argument that at least two important insurance reforms are so closely tied to the insurance requirement that they could not survive without it.
Less clear was whether the court would conclude the entire law, with its hundreds of unrelated provisions, also would have to be cast aside.
The justices also are spending part of Wednesday considering a challenge by 26 states to the expansion of the
The first of the day's two sessions was unusual in that it assumed an answer to the central question in the historic health care case: that the requirement that Americans carry health insurance or pay a penalty will be struck down.
In their questions, liberal justices
"What's wrong with leaving this in the hands of those who should be fixing this?" asked Sotomayor, referring to
For example, Ginsburg observed that the act deals with issues such as black lung disease.
But Clement said the court would be leaving "a hollow shell" if it decided to excise the several key provisions. "The rest of the law cannot stand," he contended.
Roberts and Justice
"What happened to the Eighth Amendment?" Scalia asked, referring to the Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment. "You really expect us to go through 2,700 pages?"
As the arguments resumed Wednesday morning, a smaller group of demonstrators than on previous days gathered outside.
Supporters of the law held a morning news conference where speakers talked about the importance of
Opponents of the law, including
"Freedom, yes. Obamacare, no," other opponents chanted.