The U.S. Supreme Court will review a challenge to President Obama's federal health care law before the presidential election in 2012, the justices announced Monday.
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The court will wield unprecedented influence over the presidential election campaign, with a decision in the case likely in late June, months before the election. The eventual ruling may define Chief Justice John Roberts' court, either as an aggressive enforcer of the constitutional constraints on Congress or as a nonpolitical body inclined to defer to the elected branches on policy questions.
The dispute turns on Congress's constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce. Opponents of the law, including a group of 26 states led by Florida, contend that Congress exceeded that authority by requiring people to buy insurance even if they say they want to pay their own health expenses or don't plan to ever seek medical care.
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