(WASHINGTON) — Hundreds of Tea Party activists rallied in Washington on Saturday, demonstrating just days before the Supreme Court hears arguments on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. With the outline of the U.S. Capitol behind them, conservative organizers urged the judiciary to overturn the legislation and called for the defeat of President Obama in the November election.
Former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain was the keynote speaker at the event. Standing in a light rain, Cain told supporters he may not have survived his battle with cancer had he sought treatment under the new law.
“That’s what this is about,” Cain said. “The freedom to choose our own doctors. The freedom to choose our own health insurance plan.”
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli told the crowd the upcoming elections were their chance to restore the Constitution. His state is one of 26 challenging the Affordable Care Act through lawsuits in the high court.
“[President Obama] and this administration represent the greatest set of lawbreakers to ever run the federal government in our lifetimes,” Cuccinelli said. “The rule of law itself is at stake.”
Republican congressmen Louie Gohmert and Dan Benishek were also in attendance.
Opponents of the Affordable Care Act maintain it is unconstitutional for the federal government to force Americans into the marketplace to buy a product: in this case health insurance. Derisively labeling the act “Obamacare,” its critics also rail against perceived costs of the legislation for businesses or taxpayers, and what they say will be a downturn in quality of care.
Signed by President Obama two years ago, the law would not take full effect until 2014 if left unchallenged.
On Monday, the Supreme Court will begin three days of arguments over the fate of the law. As no cameras are allowed in the courtroom, people eager to see the deliberations firsthand have been camping outside the judiciary since Friday for their place in line.
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