NFIB Sebelius Roberts


The Government argues that the individual mandate
can be sustained as a sort of exception to this rule, because
health insurance is a unique product.  According to the
Government, upholding the individual mandate would
not justify mandatory purchases of items such as cars or
broccoli because, as the Government puts it, “”[h]ealth in-
surance is not purchased for its own sake like a car or
broccoli; it is a means of financing health-care consump-
tion and covering universal risks.””  Reply Brief for United
States 19. But cars and broccoli are no more purchased
for their “”own sake”” than health insurance.  They are
purchased to cover the need for transportation and food.

 The Government says that health insurance and health
care financing are “”inherently integrated.””  Brief for United
States 41. But that does not mean the compelled purchase
of the first is properly regarded as a regulation of the
second. No matter how “”inherently integrated”” health
insurance and health care consumption may be, they are
not the same thing: They involve different transactions,
entered into at different times, with different providers.
And for most of those targeted by the mandate, significant
health care needs will be years, or even decades, away.
The proximity and degree of connection between the
mandate and the subsequent commercial activity is too lack-
ing to justify an exception of the sort urged by the Gov-
ernment. The individual mandate forces individuals
into commerce precisely because they elected to refrain
from commercial activity.  Such a law cannot be sus-
tained under a clause authorizing Congress to “”regulate


 The Government next contends that Congress has the
power under the Necessary and Proper Clause to enact the
individual mandate because the mandate is an “integral
part of a comprehensive scheme of economic regulation”— –


the guaranteed-issue and community-rating insurance
reforms. Brief for United States 24.  Under this argu-
ment, it is not necessary to consider the effect that an
individual’s inactivity may have on interstate commerce; it
is enough that Congress regulate commercial activity in a
way that requires regulation of inactivity to be effective.

 The power to “”make all Laws which shall be necessary
and proper for carrying into Execution”” the powers enu-
merated in the Constitution, Art. I, §8, cl. 18, vests Con –
gress with authority to enact provisions ““incidental to the
[enumerated] power, and conducive to its beneficial exer-
cise,”” McCulloch, 4 Wheat., at 418.  Although the Clause
gives Congress authority to “”legislate on that vast mass
of incidental powers which must be involved in the con-
stitution,”” it does not license the exercise of any “”great
substantive and independent power[s]”” beyond those specifi-
cally enumerated.  Id., at 411, 421.  Instead, the Clause is
“‘merely a declaration, for the removal of all uncertainty,
that the means of carrying into execution those [powers]
otherwise granted are included in the grant.'”   Kinsella v.
United States ex rel. Singleton, 361 U. S. 234, 247 (1960)
(quoting VI Writings of James Madison 383 (G. Hunt ed.

  As our jurisprudence under the Necessary and Proper
Clause has developed, we have been very deferential to
Congress’’s determination that a regulation is ““necessary.””
We have thus upheld laws that are “ ‘”‘convenient, or use –
ful’’ or ‘’conducive’’ to the authority’’s ‘’beneficial exercise.'”’ ”
Comstock, 560 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 5) (quoting McCul-
loch, supra, at 413, 418).  But we have also carried out our
responsibility to declare unconstitutional those laws that
undermine the structure of government established by the
Constitution. Such laws, which are not “”consist[ent] with
the letter and spirit of the constitution,”” McCulloch, supra,
at 421, are not ““proper [means] for carrying into Execu-
tion”” Congress’s enumerated powers.  Rather, they are, ““in