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A conservative law firm asked the Supreme Court Wednesday to strike down the health care overhaul, challenging the first federal appeals court ruling that upheld President Barack Obama's signature domestic initiative.

The appeal filed by the Thomas More Law Center of Ann Arbor, Mich., said Congress overstepped its authority in requiring Americans to purchase health insurance or pay financial penalties.

The center said that if the Supreme Court ratifies the law, "the federal government will have absolute and unfettered power to create complex regulatory schemes to fix every perceived problem imaginable and to do so by ordering private citizens to engage in affirmative acts, under penalty of law."

Last month, a divided three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati rejected the center's argument in upholding the centerpiece of the law, the insurance requirement.

In addition to being the first appeals court ruling on the landmark law, the 6th Circuit's decision also was the first in which a Republican-appointed judge, Jeffrey Sutton, voted to uphold the law. President George W. Bush nominated Sutton.

Federal appeals courts in Atlanta and Richmond, Va., also have heard arguments on challenges to the law, but have yet to issue decisions. The federal appeals court in Washington is scheduled to hear argument in yet another health care case in September.



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