The Constitution This Week: Health care, health care, health care

News headlines, politicians, and hot-button issues come and go, but one 225-year-old document continues to emerge in our conversations about our nation’s most important questions and challenges: the Constitution. The Constitution is a big buzzword for Election 2012, and more than ever, citizens, pundits, and politicians are turning to the Constitution for answers–and sometimes ammunition, as they try to prove the Constitution is on their side.

This week-in-review feature typically covers a variety of constitutional topics in the news. But this week, constitutional coverage was dominated by one topic: health care. On Monday the Supreme Court began hearing the arguments for Department of Health and Human Services v. Florida, the case challenging the health care reform law.

The case has garnered such attention for a number of reasons. Unlike many Supreme Court cases, which may be too narrow or abstract to be meaningful to the average American, the result of this case will have a direct effect on everyone’s lives. The law was considered by supporters as one of President Obama’s signature accomplishments, so its fate could dramatically help or hurt his re-election campaign. (The Center’s Peter Jennings Project for Journalists and the Constitution provided a preview of oral arguments with a mock trial resulting in an 8-1 decision to uphold the law.) Plus, the court affirmed the case’s importance by assigning an unusually lengthy schedule for the oral arguments.

Here’s a gathering of the top coverage and commentary on the health care case this week.

1. Taking its place in history — Lyle Denniston, Constitution Daily (and SCOTUSblog)

2. The court tees up the health mandate — Lyle Denniston, Constitution Daily

3. Is the health care mandate on life support? — Lyle Denniston, Constitution Daily

4. What is the individual mandate and what if it’s declared unconstitutional? Susan Dentzer, PBS NewsHour

5. Opinion: Judging the justices over conflict of interest — Arlen Specter, Washington Post

6. Opinion: Founding Fathers would approve of national healthcare policy — Elizabeth Wydra, U.S. News & World Report

7. Opinion: Obama’s disregard for the Constitution — Mike Lee, Politico

Holly Munson is the Programs Coordinator for Public Engagement at the National Constitution Center.

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