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Supreme Court divided on second day of health care hearings

Justices seem split down ideological lines on individual mandate question, but swing votes remain uncertain

The Supreme Court appears willing to rule on the administration’s health care act, but what that ruling will be remains unclear after Tuesday’s divisive oral arguments.

Monday’s hearings dealt with whether the court could rule on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) at all, considering that the 1867 Anti-Injunction Act prohibits taxpayers from challenging a tax before it has been instituted (the PPACA’s financial penalties do not kick in until 2015). Most of the justices, however, seemed inclined to accept the government’s argument that the PPACA’s fine is a “penalty,” not a “tax” designed to raise revenue.

Alanna Byrne

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