There was no clear winner in the health care debate today at the Supreme Court. Though, depending on who was yammering away in the TV Box at any particular time or channel, you might think otherwise.The high court finished up its second day of intense arguments, with today's focus on the constitutionality of the individual mandate — a provision at the heart of Obamacare that requires most Americans to have health insurance in 2014.
After today's arguments, NBC News Justice Correspondent Pete Williams said the majority of justices on the bench at least seemed skeptical that Congress had the authority to pass such a sweeping health care law. "It's risky to predict, but if I had to predict right today, I would say the law is in trouble," Williams said.
With the court split in a 5-4 conservative majority, all eyes were on Justice Anthony Kennedy, the possible swing vote.But, NBC News Chief Legal Correspondent Savannah Guthrie warned you can't pin down the final decision based on the vibe in the room. "Oral arguments are not always an indicator of where the court will come out." She called it a "tough day" for the government because "even the justices who seemed gettable, who because of their past writings had seemed open to it, a more expansive view of federal power, seemed consumed by one question: if you could force people to go out and have to buy health insurance, are there any limits at all to what the federal government can do?"The nine justices aren't expected to issue a ruling on the individual mandate for another three months.
The final day of arguments begins Wednesday.