The focus of the debate over President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul is already turning toward the U.S. Supreme Court, even though it may be years before the justices resolve the law’s constitutionality.
Advocates on both sides say the Supreme Court almost certainly will be the final word on the measure, relegating a federal judge’s ruling against the law this week to a footnote. The judge said a provision requiring people to buy insurance or pay a penalty was unconstitutional.
Far less clear is how the law will fare before a high court that has five Republican appointees and four Democrats. No precedent directly controls the case’s outcome, and the justices’ opinions in other contexts only hint at how they would view the so-called individual mandate.