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In civics class we learn that federal courts decide whether laws passed by

Congress and the state legislatures are constitutional. Therefore the federal

courts are the guardians of our Constitution. That is certainly true, but it is

not the whole story. In fact, the most important function of the federal

courts is to legitimate state building by the political branches. That is the

best way to understand what happened in the Health Care Case.1 It also

helps explain why Chief Justice John Roberts’s opinion is written the way

it is.

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