Conventional political wisdom holds that the U.S. Supreme Court, scheduled to hear a challenge to President Barack Obama's healthcare law beginning on Monday, is likely to strike it down on partisan lines. The court's Republican appointees enjoy a 5-4 majority. But a review of lower court rulings by conservative judges, subtle signals from individual justices, and interviews with professors and judges across the ideological spectrum suggest that presumption is wrong - and that the court will uphold the law. Not that conservative court-watchers like to broadcast such a view in this combustible atmosphere. "It's almost like they're confessing to some secret vice when they say they don't think (the law) should be struck down," said former U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Michael McConnell, a George W. Bush appointee who now teaches at Stanford Law School, referring to some fellow conservatives. Several legal experts who do not necessarily favor the law, but bet it will survive, point to the decisions of two leading conservative federal appellate judges who already have sided with the Obama administration. The core of its healthcare law is a requirement that most people in the United States buy insurance by 2014.
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