The Justice Department is joining calls by states and a business group for prompt Supreme Court review of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.
The department says it will file its appeal with the high court asking the justices to uphold the constitutionality of the law and throw out a federal appeals court ruling that struck down a key provision.
The word from Justice is the Obama administration's first indication that it wants an up-or-down ruling before the 2012 presidential election on the law that aims to extend insurance coverage to more than 30 million Americans.
The department noted it has defended the law in several court of appeals, and only the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled it unconstitutional.
"Throughout history, there have been similar challenges to other landmark legislation such as the Social Security Act, the Civil Rights Act, and the Voting Rights Act, and all of those challenges failed," the department said in a statement. "We believe the challenges to Affordable Care Act -- like the one in the 11th Circuit -- will also ultimately fail and that the Supreme Court will uphold the law."
Twenty-six states and a small business group, the National Federation of Independent Business, argue the entire law should be invalidated because Congress exceeded its powers requiring that Americans buy health insurance or face a penalty.