Two years after President Obama's historic health care overhaul was signed into law, the Supreme Court began hearing arguments today in a challenge to its legality that's led by 26 states. The two sides will argue first about whether a challenge is premature under a 19th-century tax law.
The Associated Press reports:
Twenty-six states are leading the legal challenge, while Republican presidential candidates are vowing to repeal it after throwing Obama out of office.
The law, much of which has still to take effect, would require almost all Americans to obtain health insurance and would extend coverage to more than 30 million people who now lack it. The law would be the largest expansion in the nation's social safety net in more than four decades.
The nine justices began hearing arguments a little after 10 a.m. EDT.
Outside the court building, about 100 supporters of the law walked in a circle holding signs that read, "Protect my healthcare," and chanting, "Care for you, care for me, care for every family." A half-dozen opponents shouted, "We love the Constitution!"
A four-person student band from Howard University was part of the group favoring the law, playing New Orleans-style jazz tunes.
A decision is expected by late June, in the midst of a presidential election campaign in which all of Obama's Republican challengers oppose the law and promise its repeal, if the high court doesn't strike it down first.
Read more at the Associated Press.