Federal Appeals Court Hears Virginia Health Care Cases

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RICHMOND, Va. -- A federal appeals panel dominated by appointees of President Obama has heard arguments in two Virginia lawsuits challenging his health care overhaul.

The three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vigorously questioned lawyers on both sides of the issue Tuesday. The panel included Obama appointees Andre Davis and James Wynn. They were joined by Diana Motz, an appointee of former President Bill Clinton.

The most spirited questioning focused on the key issue of whether the law's requirement that individuals buy health insurance or pay a penalty is constitutional. Two federal judges in Virginia reached opposite conclusions on that point.

The panel likely will take a few weeks to rule, but the case is expected to end up at the U.S. Supreme Court.