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Supreme Court to hear dispute on health care law

November 14, 2011

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court announced Monday that it will hear a dispute testing the constitutionality of the Obama-sponsored health care overhaul, a move that opens the most important chapter in the legal battle over the law.

The leading question before the justices is whether in requiring most Americans to buy insurance, Congress exceeded its power to regulate interstate commerce.

The case is on track to be heard by March, and a ruling would come by the end of June, just before the Republican and Democratic conventions for the 2012 presidential election. The law known as the Affordable Care Act, intended to extend medical care nationwide, is the centerpiece of the Obama domestic agenda, and all major GOP presidential candidates oppose it.

The legal challengers, including a group of 26 states, say the law went beyond federal power and, if allowed to stand, would hurt small businesses and compromise individual choices on medical care.

“This is going to be the most heavily covered Supreme Court case in history, even more so than Bush v. Gore, because that was so compressed,” says Washington lawyer Thomas Goldstein, who argues regularly at the court, referring to the 2000 presidential election dispute that lasted just over a month. “This will run from today until the summer.”

Goldstein, who oversees the popular “scotusblog” that tracks the court’s actions, calls the health care dispute “the perfect storm of a pocketbook issue that’s also part of an ideological war between the parties in an election year.”

Article: USA TODAY

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