I am listening to the audio now, but it’s hard to get too interested tonight, because today’s arguments (the first day of three days of argument) were mostly about whether the Justices are going to decide the case — and just about everyone seems to agree that they will.
But down in the weeds, the argument was over whether the individual mandate is a tax (the federal government says it is), and that has some relevance to the statute’s constitutionality.
Ilya Somin has the rundown, saving me the grief:
Today’s Supreme Court oral argument transcript suggests that many of the justices, including at least three of the liberals, are skeptical of claims that the individual mandate is a tax. This is important not only for today’s argument about the applicability of the Anti-Injunction Act (which probably does not apply if the mandate penalty is not a tax), but to tomorrow’s argument about the constitutionality of the mandate. The federal government has argued that the mandate is constitutional because it is an exercise of Congress’ power under the Tax Clause. Lower courts have almost uniformly rejected this constitutional tax argument, and today’s questioning suggests that the Supreme Court is unlikely to accept it either.
Things should get interesting tomorrow.