The First Amendment got a lot of exercise at the U.S. Supreme Court Monday as Americans on both sides of the debate gathered to make their voices heard on President Obama's controversial health care law.
The last time the Supreme Court dedicated this much time to hearing arguments in a case was in the 1950s in the landmark civil rights case, Brown v. the Board of Education.
Monday's hearing has been widely anticipated and emotions were high.
Many of the people at the Supreme Court, like Linda Dorr, have had intimate, life-changing experiences with the nation's health care system. Three years ago, Dorr was diagnosed with breast cancer.
"My doctors told me since I was going to be facing Medicare, being on Medicare, they probably could maybe only offer me a pill," she recalled.
Dorr fears her care would suffer under the law, but Beth Israel Hospital's Dr. Cameron Page said he's seen the law save lives.
"I wasn't necessarily a huge fan of the law when they were debating it," Page admitted. "I thought it had a lot of flaws, but I've seen it help people. And that's why I wanted to come down and just express my support."
Respiratory therapist Bette Grey said, "People cannot walk into a primary care office unless they have a plastic insurance card because it costs too much. So, the whole deal here is: no insurance card, no walking through, no wellness, there's nothing like that."
"So this is really an opportunity. It's a dialogue that needs to start because people are dying in the streets," she said.
At the heart of the case is whether the U.S. government can require that Americans buy health insurance or face a fine.
Jenny Beth Martin with the Tea Party Patriots says "no."
"The government has no business mandating, telling us we absolutely must buy a product simply because we live and breathe," she said.
Meanwhile, presidential candidates are also on edge.
The health care law is one of the issues at the center of the race for the White House and has huge implications for the 2012 presidential election.