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Justice Kennedy and the mandate

The future of America’s health care system could be decided by Anthony Kennedy, the Supreme Court justice from California who has become the court’s all-important swing vote. Comments from the bench by the justices are not always a sign of how they will decide a case. But it was evident during Tuesday’s oral arguments on the federal Affordable Care Act that four liberal justices are inclined to find the law constitutional while four conservative jurists are very skeptical of the act’s mandate that nearly all individuals either have insurance or pay a financial penalty.