On the third and final day of oral arguments on the 2010 Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court justices debated whether parts of the health care law could survive if the Court holds that the individual mandate does not pass constitutional muster. Some of the justices were skeptical that the Court could slice up the law; others suggested that a "salvage job" could be done. Here's a look at some of their questions:
Antonin Scalia: The Supreme Court suggested on Wednesday morning that it is in no mood to do intricate surgery on the 2010 health care reform law, even if the individual mandate is struck down. "You want us to go through 2,700 pages?” Scalia asked incredulously.
In the second session he beat up on Solicitor General Donald Verrilli. “Not exactly a surprise question,” he said tartly when Verrilli struggled to answer.(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: “Why should we say it’s a choice between a wrecking operation, which is what you are proposing, or a salvage job? The more conservative choice would seem to be the salvage job,” she said to Paul Clement, who argued against the law.(AP Photo/Matt Sayles)
Justice Elena Kagan. "Why is a big gift from the federal government a matter of coercion?" she asked. "It's just a boatload of federal money. It doesn't sound coercive to me, let me tell you."(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Justice Sonia Sotomayor: She was first to interrupt the challengers' lawyer, Paul Clement, who argued that the whole law should be invalidated. "Why shouldn't we let Congress" decide what to do? she asked. "What's wrong with leaving it in the hands of people" who should be making this decision, "not us?"(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)
Clarence Thomas said nothing, as usual. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, file)