Court Opens Health-Care Debate With Law That May Derail Case

By Greg Stohr – The U.S. Supreme Court opened today (Mar 26, 2012) its historic review of President Barack Obama’s health-care law, three days of arguments that might result in the president’s premier legislative achievement being found unconstitutional in the middle of his re-election campaign.

The six hours of planned debate that began this morning is the most on a case in 44 years. The core dispute — the law’s upcoming mandate that uninsured people purchase coverage –comes on the second day.

First, the justices today hear arguments on a seemingly arcane question: Does the penalty for failing to get insurance amount to a tax?

It’s “the sleeper issue of the health-care case,” said Adam Winkler, a constitutional law professor at the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law. “The great constitutional controversy over Obamacare could end with a whimper rather than a bang.” more>


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