US appeals court upholds Obama health care law

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A conservative-leaning panel of U.S. appellate judges on Tuesday upheld President Barack Obama's health care law as constitutional, helping set up a Supreme Court fight.

A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for Washington issued a split opinion upholding the law. The court agreed to dismiss a Christian legal group's lawsuit claiming the requirement that all Americans get health insurance is unconstitutional and violates religious freedom.

The requirement has been the subject of several lawsuits, with some judges across the country ruling it unconstitutional and others upholding the law. That means the Supreme Court is sure to decide the fate of Obama's signature law. The high court is expected to decide soon, perhaps within days, whether to accept appeals from some of those earlier rulings.

The suit in Washington was brought by the American Center for Law and Justice, a legal group founded by evangelist Pat Robertson. It claimed that the insurance mandate violates the religious freedom of those who choose not to have insurance because they rely on God to protect them from harm.

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