The Supreme Court has turned down the first preliminary challenge to President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. The decision to reject an appeal from a former Republican state lawmaker in California was no surprise because a federal appeals court has yet to consider the case. The high court almost never reviews cases before the issues have been aired in lower courts. Of more significance is the sign that all the justices took part in rejecting the appeal.
New Justice Elena Kagan, who was Obama's solicitor general before joining the court, refused to say during her confirmation hearings whether she would take part in the court's deliberations over the health care law. The court has noted Kagan's absence in more than two dozen other cases, suggesting that she voted on the health care appeal. Justice Clarence Thomas also apparently voted on the case, despite critics who called on him to step aside since his wife is an outspoken opponent of the law.
(Read more health care reform stories.)