As the Supreme Court heads into the second day of its historic hearing on the national health-care overhaul signed into law by President Obama, arguments inside the high court shift to the hot-button issue of the “individual mandate.”
2:55 p.m. | Transcripts of arguments are available
The transcripts of Tuesday’s arguments over a key component of the nation’s health-care are now online.
The Post’s Robert Barnes and N.C. Aizenman report that the Supreme Court’s conservative judges appeared skeptical on Tuesday that Congress had the Constitutional authority to force Americans to either buy health care coverage or pay a penalty. For more on the proceedings inside the courtroom, read Barnes’s and Aizenman’s full story.
1:55 p.m. | Baring all: A civil discourse breaks out
Among the more unusual political props outside the Supreme Court Tuesday: a rubber keister.
Joan Stallard, a 70-year-old Washingtonian, paired it with a green hospital gown. (She also sported a basic black ensemble underneath, to make sure she only showed off rubber skin.)
"Don't leave us exposed," read the hot-pink sign on her back. Stallard lingered on the sidewalk after much of the crowd had drifted off, and found herself in conversation with Susan Emrich, 55, who'd traveled from Lebanon County, Pa. because she is fiercely opposed to the health-care overhaul.
Emrich’s shirt read: "Hands off my health care." A "Don't Tread On Me" flag fluttered in her hand. And yet there they were, in civil conversation. Not agreeing. But not shouting, either.
Stallard asked Emrich to imagine: What if she got into a car accident on the way home and had no insurance; wouldn't taxpayers and people with insurance wind up picking up the hospital bill?
"They take care of me now," Emrich replied. "They take care of the illegals."
Is it possible, a reporter asked, that they could meet in the middle?"We're meeting on the edges," said Stallard. Said Emrich: "We're discussing."
1:10 p.m. | Outside the courtroom, you can’t hear the gavel
Arguments were over for the day, but only inside the court. Out on the sidewalk, they went on and on, perhaps with greater fervor than earlier in the day, when the noise of chanting crowds made it difficult to talk.
Organized demonstrations were trickling away after 12:30, but there were plenty of lollygaggers hanging back to try to change each other's minds.
"Obamacare rations mammograms," an older woman declared to anyone who cared to listen.
Jasemin Ayarci, a 21-year-old George Washington University sophomore holding a poster of Jesus healing the sick, answered through a megaphone even though she stood right next to her.
"Actually, it doesn't," she said.
12:25 p.m. | Rival protesters make voices heard outside court
The Tea Party Patriots staged a large rally near the front steps.
"We will stand, and we will fight, and we will unite, and we will repeal Obamacare!" declared Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn), a former GOP presidential contender.
Bachmann and other tea party speakers could barely be heard above the chants of those on the other side of the debate.
"Protect health care!" they cried. "Protect the law!"
It was payback time shortly after court let out for the day around noon, as "Obamacare" critics called out during a news conference organized by a group called #protectthelaw.
"We the people! We the people!" they shouted.
12:08 p.m. | A glimpse at Tuesday’s protests
Take a peek at the crowd that turned out for Day 2 of the Supreme Court’s hearings:
11:35 a.m. | Wonkblog: The ABCs of the ‘individual mandate’
Sarah Kliff and Ezra Klein report on the most controversial part of the health care law — the much-discussed individual mandate. What is it, why does it matter, and whose idea was this?
10:02 a.m. | Bigger crowd arrives for Day 2
Supporters of the legislation had added bongo drums to the small brass band they’d had Monday, and they’d come up with a song. “We will win, when everybody’s in,” they sang.
As was the case Monday, supporters of the law seemed to greatly outnumber critics. But opponents were planning a 10:15 a.m. rally featuring former presidential candidate and U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann.
The morning kicked off on a high note for civil discourse, with the announcement that each side had agreed not to disrupt the other’s news conferences. Not everyone in the crowd felt bound by that deal. Just minutes later, as opponents decried “Obamacare,” a woman shouted, “Shut up! You’re so dumb!”
But mostly, supporters of the law stood by quietly as opponents, such as David Bereit of 40 days for Life, decried it.
“The Obama administration has spit in the faced of all people of faith,” he said.
Supporters then countered with a presser of their own, featuring testimonials from the mother of twins with cancer, a rape victim who’d been denied insurance because she’d been prescribed anti-HIV drugs, and others who say they’ve been turned down for insurance because of preexisting conditions.
6 a.m. | Day 2: What to expect
Some of the people who’ve camped out for days around the Supreme Court building have been waiting for Day 2, passing up the chance to watch arguments Monday so they could get inside for Tuesday’s meatier debate.
The show is expected to get better outside, too, as a number of organized protests and news conferences are planned near the court and around town. Here’s what has been announced so far for the sidewalk just off the court’s front steps:
• 8:30 a.m.: Women who support the law will tell personal stories about how it has helped them.
• 10:15 a.m.: Former presidential candidate and U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota) will join a Tea Party Patriots rally against the law.
Check back here throughout the day for updates.
What questions do you have about the health care legal challenges? Post them in the comments below or tweet them with #AskThePost and Supreme Court reporter Robert Barnes will answer them each day.