WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court is set to announce its decision Thursday in the much-awaited health care reform case and analysts say that Justice Anthony Kennedy could be key to the final decision.
Kennedy historically has voted conservative but has sided with more liberal issues like the death penalty, abortion, and immigration.
The 75-year-old Kennedy asked tough questions of both sides during the March oral arguments over the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act and the key funding provision. The so-called "individual mandate" would require most Americans to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty.
"This is a question about states' rights which he cares a lot about. It's a question about individual liberty and the relationship between the government and the American public which he cares a lot about," publisher Thomas Goldstein of SCOTUSblog.com told CNN.
"And so it would be quite surprising if he weren't in the majority in the end. We won't know on which of the questions the court's going to divide on 5 to 4. But if it does, then he's likely to be the pivotal vote."
Another key player might be Chief Justice John Roberts, who also pressed both sides in the health care arguments.
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