WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama offered a firm defense of his health care law, saying Monday he remains confident that the law will be upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court and warning that "unelected" justices should not overturn the will of Congress.
"We are confident that this will be upheld because it should be upheld," Obama said during a joint news conference with the leaders of Canada and Mexico. Obama said bluntly: "It's constitutional."
Obama's assessment came a week after the health care law pushed by his administration faced skepticism from conservative justices during three days of oral arguments, raising questions over whether the president's signature accomplishment will remain intact.
"I'm confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress," Obama said. "I'd just remind conservative commentators that for years what we've heard is the biggest problem on the bench is judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint."
"That an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law. Well, here's a good example. And I'm pretty confident that this court will recognize that, and not take that step," Obama said.
The president said "there's not only an economic element to this, and a legal element to this, but there's a human element to this. And I hope that is not forgotten in this political debate."
Conservative justices raised questions about Congress' power to force people to buy health insurance, a key part of the new law, suggesting problems for the insurance requirement and possibly the entire law. The White House has defended the health care law, noting its benefits for young people who can remain on their parents' health insurance for a longer period of time and seniors who pay less for prescription drugs.