Both the challengers and the administration have urged the justices to decide the constitutional issues now. But if the court were to take this path, most of the six hours of argument time, thousands of pages of legal briefs and ample legal fees devoted to this case would be wasted.
Although the administration says it doesn't want this result, such a decision would allow it to continue putting the law in place and force postponement of any subsequent challenge until more of the benefits are being received. On the other hand, Republicans might have more ammunition to press for repeal of the law in the meantime.
EDITOR'S NOTE _ This is part of a weeklong package of stories previewing the Supreme Court's consideration of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul law.
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