Healthcare Case Evokes New Deal

Supreme Court's review of healthcare reform law take it into territory not approached since days of FDR.

In reviewing Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, the U.S. Supreme Court has pushed into territory it hasn’t approached since the days of Franklin D. Roosevelt: ruling on a president’s signature legislative victory in the midst of his re-election campaign.

Justices will take more time to hear arguments -- six hours over three days next week -- than for any other case in the last 44 years.

‘Exceptionally Important’

“This is an exceptionally important case in every dimension,” said Stephen Shapiro, a partner at Mayer Brown LLP in Chicago and co-author of a treatise on Supreme Court litigation. “At issue is the constitutionality of a major act of Congress affecting every person and every employer in the nation, with big economic consequences all around.”

No Argument Limits

In its early years, the court didn’t put time limits on arguments and they sometimes stretched for days, said James O’Hara, a retired professor at Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore and trustee of the Supreme Court Historical Society.

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