Michael Carvin, representing the National Federation of Independent Business, warned that if the court allowed the mandate to stick, there would be no limit to what Congress could force people to do.
But Roberts challenged that, noting the government’s contention that everyone is already in the health care market and the government is merely regulating when they have to pay for it.
The justices had an audience heavy with history, including Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), the dean of the House who has been pushing universal health insurance for decades, Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), a principal author of the bill, McConnell and more than 20 other Members of Congress, as well as Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and top White House aide Valerie Jarrett.
“They are going to learn, hey, this thing isn’t so bad after all,” Baucus predicted after listening to the arguments.
Johnson, however, dismissed such talk, saying Americans dislike the law and don’t believe the federal government can run one-sixth of the economy.
“I felt like standing up a couple of times and yelling ‘freedom!’” he joked.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.