The scene outside the U.S. Supreme Court building had all the hallmarks of controlled chaos on Monday as people on both sides of the health reform law converged on the steps of the building to warm up for day one of oral arguments in a case that could redefine the limits of the federal government’s power. At the heart of the challenge is the law’s central requirement that nearly all Americans obtain health insurance or pay a penalty.

Crowds of supporters and opponents alike held dueling rallies and protests – fodder for the crush of reporters snapping shots and grabbing sound bites.

“Will you join me today to protect this law? You should because this is not about politics, this is about people,” said Alice Chen, executive director of Doctors for America, during a news conference Monday morning outside the Supreme Court building.

Pro-health reform rally

Proponents of the health reform law rally Monday morning at the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court building. Photo courtesy Audrey Pernik

 

Perhaps grabbing the greatest attention of the day was an impromptu campaign stop by Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum to oppose the law but also chide his opponent Mitt Romney for not also being there to protest.

In an impromptu campaign stop, Rick Santorum addresses a crowd of people outside the U.S. Supreme Court. Photo courtesy Audrey Pernik

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