Two years after it was signed into law, President Barack Obama’s divisive health care law comes before the U.S. Supreme Court today.
The court will hear a challenge by attorneys general representing 26 states who argue that the health care law violates the Constitution and tramples on individual liberties by requiring nearly all Americans to buy health insurance.
Over three days, the nine justices will hear six hours of oral arguments, the most the court has scheduled since the 1960s.
The law — sometimes labeled Obamacare — seeks to extend medical insurance to millions of Americans who do not have any. It has become a rallying point for conservatives who claim the changes will lead to bureaucrats replacing doctors in medical decision-making and that the quality of health care will diminish.
The principal challenge before the court is the constitutionality of the legal requirement that almost every American must buy health insurance. Opponents of the requirement say Congress lacks the authority to force Americans to buy insurance. The Obama administration has argued that Congress has the authority, under the Constitution.
This case comes before a divided bench made up of five justices appointed by Republican presidents and the rest appointed by Democrats.