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March 27, 2012

UNOFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT: Sen. Johanns Remarks at Press Conference After Attending Oral Arguments at the Supreme Court

Thank you Leader, a few impressions, if I could on what I observed during the arguments today. I think the Leaders’ thoughts on this are right on target. I was watching Justice Kennedy very closely, I guess everybody was. He came right out, very quickly in arguments, and asked some very fundamental questions. The first thing that he pointed out, is that if this really is going farther than any other case, which I believe both sides, all sides, acknowledge that it is, then there is a substantial burden, a heavy burden on the part of the government to justify their action. To find the authority within the Constitution to do what they are doing. That seems to be right at the heart of what we are talking about today.

The second observation that I would point out also came from Justice Kennedy. He said this fundamentally changes the relationship between the people and the government. That is one of the points we have been making all along. This notion that somehow Congress believes it has the power under the Commerce Clause to force people into commerce who for whatever reasons choose not to be in commerce is a stretch beyond anything that our country has ever undergone.

So, you never know, these are only arguments, they are asking questions to try to figure out where they are going to settle in here in terms of deciding the case. But I would say today the government had a tough day.

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