(AP) Justices questioning briskly in health care case
By MARK SHERMAN
The Supreme Court is plunging into a three-day debate on the Obama administration’s overhaul of the nation’s health care system. In the opening minutes, the justices are asking pointed questions about a legal issue that could derail the case.
Eight of nine justices fired two dozen questions in less than half hour at Washington attorney Robert Long. He was appointed by the justices to argue that the case has been brought prematurely because a law bars tax disputes from being heard in the courts before the taxes have been paid.
Under the new law, taxpayers who don’t purchase health insurance will have to report that omission on tax returns for 2014 and will pay a penalty along with federal income tax. At issue is whether that penalty is a tax.