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Supreme Court scene recalls 2010 demonstrations on health care law

Outside the Supreme Court and across Capitol Hill, people gather to voice their opinions on the health care law as the justices hear oral arguments about its constitutionality
by Chris Casteel Published: March 28, 2012

“Ho, ho, hey, hey, Obamacare has got to stay,” a small cluster of young people chanted outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday.

Then a woman grabbed a bullhorn and started chanting, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Obamacare has got to go.”

It was the second of three days of oral arguments in the high court over the 2-year-old health care law, but not all of the debate was among the nine justices and the various attorneys on the case.

Across Capitol Hill, people on both sides of the issue re-created the high-volume demonstrations that marked Congress' passage of the law in 2010. There were signs — “Health Care for All,” “Obamacare Makes Me Sick” — and chants and spirited arguments in front of the court.

After the court's two hours of arguments, U.S. senators from both parties held news conferences, while hundreds of opponents of the law gathered at a rally across the street from the Capitol to hear from Republican lawmakers.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt scored a front row seat for the two hours of arguments on what is widely considered the most important issue — whether Congress has the constitutional power to require individuals to purchase health care insurance.

The so-called individual mandate is the crux of the law and is at the heart of much of the opposition to it.

Pruitt, who has filed a challenge to the federal law separately from the ones being heard by the Supreme Court this week, paid his own way to Washington and attended the session with some other Republican attorneys general, he said.

He said later that it was difficult to predict how the court would rule; a decision is expected this summer.

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by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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