WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) --- The Supreme Court begins an unprecedented three days of oral arguments Monday, exploring the reach of federal government power as it struggles with whether the health care law passed by congress in 2010 passes constitutional muster.
"This is probably the most important Supreme Court case in recent years and, maybe, ever because it's going to determine whether everybody in the United States gets health care or not, said Georgetown University constitutional law professor Paul Rothstein.
The most commonly raised challenge to the law concerns its demand that almost every American be covered by a health insurance policy by 2014 or pay a financial penalty instead.
"It takes away a lot of your individual liberty, and if the government can force you to purchase health insurance, they can force you to purchase broccoli. They can force you to purchase Exxon-Mobil (stock). They can force you to purchase anything and we no longer would have a government of limited powers we would have a government of, essentially, unlimited powers," said Michael Cannon of the CATO Institute.
"In addition to being wrong, it's also unconstitutional. The federal government does not have, under the constitution, the power to force Americans to purchase a private product like health insurance," Cannon told 9News Now.
Advocates of the law say health care is unique in that everyone will eventually have to use it
"...and I think that is going to be the biggest sticking point in the Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court can be convinced that health care is special and that federal government power won't spread beyond that, and this decision won't empower the federal government in other areas too much, then I think the Supreme Court will be inclined to uphold the healthcare law," Rothstein said.