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Court sets date in health care appeal

ATLANTA | A U.S. court will hear oral arguments June 8 in a government appeal of a federal judge’s ruling that struck down President Obama’s landmark health care overhaul law as unconstitutional.

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta said it would hear the appeal before a randomly selected three-judge panel. The fight over the law, Mr. Obama’s signature domestic accomplishment, is expected to reach the Supreme Court.

“This appeal shall also be expedited to oral argument and shall be heard at oral argument on Wednesday, June 8, 2011, at 9:30 a.m. in Atlanta, Georgia, before a three judge panel randomly selected,” a court document said.

The administration is appealing a decision in January by U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson that favored arguments by 26 states that say the law’s requirement Americans buy health insurance starting in 2014 or pay a penalty is unconstitutional.

The law includes provisions allowing young adults to remain on their parents’ health care insurance and prevents insurers from denying coverage for pre-existing medical conditions.


Tougher mining laws sought

The nation’s top mine safety official is renewing his call for tougher legislation to protect miners nearly one year after an explosion killed 29 men at a West Virginia coal mine.

Mine Safety and Health Administration Director Joe Main told lawmakers his agency has made progress in fixing flaws in the enforcement system that came to light after the disaster.

And he says legislation circulating on Capitol Hill would make it easier to shut problem mines, impose tougher criminal penalties and protect whistleblowers.

A Senate panel heard testimony from Mr. Main as it considers what Congress can do to help prevent a similar accident from happening in the future.

Since the April 2010 explosion, the safety agency has conducted more than 200 “impact” inspections at mines with poor safety records.


Politicians, friends mourn Ferraro

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