Tea Party converges on court for main event in healthcare debate

In the three-day legal fight over President Obama’s healthcare law, Tuesday is the main event.

The Supreme Court will tackle the biggest question at stake in the landmark healthcare case — whether the law’s individual mandate is constitutional. And a massive Tea Party protest could take the public battle outside the courthouse to a new level, as well.

The justices opened their healthcare arguments Monday with debate over a procedural issue. Tuesday, they’ll move on to the core question of whether Congress has the power to make almost every U.S. citizen buy health insurance or pay a fine.

Hundreds of protesters, including both supporters and opponents of the healthcare law, rallied near the Supreme Court’s steps Monday, but the scene outside the court could get even more chaotic.

The group Tea Party Patriots is holding a rally in front of the court just as Tuesday’s hearings get under way, with a long list of prominent conservatives scheduled to attend that includes Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) and Steve King (R-Iowa). Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) is also scheduled to appear outside the courthouse Tuesday.

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