Federal courts will encounter “uncharted” legal territory in lawsuits challenging the new, landmark health care law, say some experts, but the strategies for opposing and defending the law were mapped out months, if not years, ago.

Last fall, as the legislation was finding its legs in the Senate, debate erupted over the constitutionality of the new law’s central feature — a mandate that individuals carry health insurance. As The National Law Journal reported last October, liberal lawmakers and scholars disagreed with their conservative counterparts, who disagreed among themselves, about whether the mandate would survive constitutional scrutiny.

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