WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul is front and center at the Supreme Court for three days of hearings to determine the fate of a law aimed at extending health insurance to more than 30 million Americans.
The justices will hear arguments beginning Monday in a highly partisan legal fight between the Obama administration and the 26 states that are leading a challenge to the largest expansion in the nation’s social safety net in more than four decades.
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.
People hoping for a glimpse of the action have waited in line all weekend for the relatively few seats open to the public. The justices allotted the case six hours of argument time, the most since the mid-1960s.
The court will release audio recordings of the arguments on the same day they take place. The first time that happened was when the court heard argument in the Bush v. Gore case that settled the 2000 presidential election. The last occasion was the argument in the Citizens United case that wound up freeing businesses from longstanding limits on political spending.
Outside groups filed a record 136 briefs on various aspects of the court case.