President Barack Obama on Tuesday eased his rhetoric on the Supreme Court’s upcoming ruling on health care reform but repeated his belief that the justices should follow legal precedent and uphold the law’s constitutionality.

His remarks in response to a question at a media luncheon followed criticism by conservatives that the president had leveled a political salvo at the high court a day earlier when commenting on last week’s hearings on the 2010 Affordable Care and Prevention Act.

On Monday, Obama said a Supreme Court ruling overturning the law passed by Congress would amount to the kind of “judicial activism” that conservative commentators oppose.

The comment prompted Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, to complain that Obama had tried to influence the outcome of the case and demonstrated “a fundamental lack of respect for our system of checks and balances.”

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