How Will Supreme Court Rule On Health Law? For the second time, a federal judge has struck down part or all of the health care law enacted by Congress. But legal experts caution against drawing any conclusions from these decisions, as history indicates that early court decisions are hardly predictive.
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How Will Supreme Court Rule On Health Care Law?

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How Will Supreme Court Rule On Health Care Law?

Law

How Will Supreme Court Rule On Health Care Law?

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STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

We have some perspective now from NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg.

NINA TOTENBERG: More recently, the record was equally unpredictive for challengers to Bush administration measures in the war on terror. Civil liberties advocates celebrated a large number of early victories, only to see them evaporate as the cases worked their way up the judicial food chain.

(SOUNDBITE OF NEWS BROADCASTS)

TOTENBERG: A federal judge has ruled a clause in the Patriot Act unconstitutional.

TOTENBERG: A federal judge in Detroit has handed the Bush administration its first legal defeat in the controversy over warrantless surveillance by the National Security Agency.

C: Well, this is the second time that a federal judge in California has declared a section of the large and complex Patriot Act unconstitutional.

TOTENBERG: Now it's the Obama administration's turn to defend a major initiative, and the lessons of history caution against drawing too many conclusions. So says Deborah Pearlstein, a scholar at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.

DEBORAH PEARLSTEIN: I don't think you can put too much faith in early rulings, especially in cases where, like this one, the political stakes are so high.

TOTENBERG: Notre Dame Law Professor Richard Garnett agrees, but adds that early rulings do signal that arguments that once might have been dismissed should be taken seriously.

RICHARD GARNETT: If an argument wins at the district court level, that to me signals that it's - at the very least it's plausible. And plausible arguments need to be engaged.

TOTENBERG: Nina Totenberg, NPR News, Washington.

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