In the written dissent, it states, “we would find the Act invalid in its entirety. We respectfully dissent.”
President Barack Obama’s signature legislation – the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act -- including the controversial individual mandate requiring that virtually all Americans buy health insurance or pay a penalty, was ruled constitutional by the U.S Supreme Court (5-4) on Thursday.
Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the four liberals on the court while the three conservatives and swing-vote Kennedy dissented.
Justices John Roberts, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Stephen Breyer agreed that the penalty Americans will face if they do not abide by the mandate is a kind of tax that Congress can impose using its taxing powers. Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Anthony Kennedy dissented.
The dissenting opinion reads, “In our view, both these central provisions of the Act -- the Individual Mandate and Medicaid Expansion -- are invalid.”
The dissenting justices further said, “What is absolutely clear, affirmed by the text of the 1789 Constitution, by the Tenth Amendment ratified in 1791, and by innumerable cases of ours in the 220 years since, is that there are structural limits upon federal power – upon what it can prescribe with respect to private conduct, and upon what it can impose upon the sovereign States. Whatever may be the conceptual limits upon the Commerce Clause and upon the power to tax and spend, they cannot be such as will enable the Federal Government to regulate all private conduct and to compel the States to function as administrators of federal programs.”