The Supreme Court’s surprise ruling on Obamacare left legislators and legal scholars debating the decision’s effect on broccoli.
"As I read it, the federal government cannot mandate that you eat broccoli but it can tax you if you don’t,” said Jeffrey Rosen, professor of law at The George Washington University and the legal affairs editor of The New Republic.
Richard Posner, a legal theorist who is currently a judge on the United States Court of Appeals, disagreed, “Under this decision, the federal government cannot force states to eat broccoli. It can force corporations to eat broccoli, since the Court previously ruled that corporations are people.
“The court ruled on narrow grounds, so the implications for other vegetables are unclear. I think the ruling would apply to brussel sprouts and other green leafy vegetables in the Cruciferae family but not carrots, leeks, and zucchini.”
Jeffrey Tobin, legal analyst for CNN and The New Yorker, commented: “Broccoli is not analogous to health care,” Certainly the federal government can regulate the production and sale of broccoli under the commerce clause, but can it tax you for not eating broccoli?
“It can be argued that everyone needs health care, but not everyone needs broccoli. But it also can be argued that everyone needs broccoli and fewer would need health care if they ate broccoli. I think the court will split 4-to-4 with Anthony Kennedy providing the decisive vote.
“We know at least where one justice stand. A firm believer in originalism, Antonin Scalia has said, ‘The Founding Fathers hated broccoli. Had they eaten it, they would have been known as The Founding Farters.’ ”