WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama's sweeping healthcare overhaul on Monday went before the US Supreme Court where the nine justices began hearing arguments in a historic test of the law's validity under the US Constitution.
The sweeping law intended to transform healthcare for millions of people in the United States has generated fierce political debate. Republican presidential hopefuls and members of Congress have vowed to roll back the March 23, 2010, law they say will financially burden states, businesses and individuals.
Now, the healthcare battle has moved from the political arena to the legal world of the highest court.
Underscoring the issues dividing the country, hundreds of supporters and opponents marched outside the white-marble building across from the US Capitol. Banks of news cameras set up in front of the court near where people lined up in hopes of getting one of the few seats open to the public.
"Protect our care" and "Don't deny my healthcare," supporters carrying signs chanted. Opponents referred to the law derisively as "Obamacare" and carried signs saying, "Unlawful," "Forced to buy" and "Lacks consent of governed."