WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court began hearing arguments on Monday in the case challenging President Barack Obama's health care reform law. HuffPost's Mike Sacks was in the courtroom for the session. Afterward, Sacks and HuffPost's Zach Carter spoke live with several protesters and experts who'd also attended the event, including Dr. Ezekiel "Zeke" Emanuel, a former health care adviser to the Obama administration.
Emanuel, a highly respected bioethicist, defended the legal and constitutional grounding of the health care law, which is being challenged by 26 state attorneys general and several private parties. He and Sacks agreed that the justices appeared eager to rule directly on the core constitutional issue involved in the case, with both the liberals and conservatives on the court attacking arguments to throw out the lawsuit based on a technicality.
Emanuel contended that the constitutional challenge to the Affordable Care Act is simply not very strong. The basic argument presented by congressional Republicans and other opponents of the law is that the "individual mandate" -- which requires all Americans to obtain some form of health insurance -- is an unconstitutional violation of individual liberty.
"I think there is this issue of whether it violates your freedom to make you do things," Emanuel said. "I think, stated that way, the answer is the government is always violating your freedom."
President Obama signed the reform bill into law in March 2010. In addition to the individual mandate, key features of the law include banning insurance companies from discriminating against patients with pre-existing medical conditions and providing financial subsidies to families who cannot afford to buy insurance on their own.
The Supreme Court will be hearing more oral arguments on Tuesday and Wednesday, and is expected to issue a ruling on the health care law by the end of June.
WATCH Mike Sacks and Zach Carter interview Zeke Emanuel above.