Retired Justice urges swift health care ruling

Associate Justice John Paul Stevens poses during a group photograph at the Supreme Court building on September 29, 2009 in Washington, DC.
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WASHINGTON - Retired Justice John Paul Stevens says the Supreme Court should promptly settle the legal debate over the health care overhaul and not push the case back beyond the 2012 presidential election.

Stevens says in an Associated Press interview that the election makes it more important for the court to rule sooner rather than later. He says voters will be better informed "if they know the answer" to the question of whether the law is constitutional.

The 91-year-old Stevens retired from the court last year. He says his former colleagues would not be affected by the potential impact of their decision on the re-election chances of President Barack Obama.

One federal appeals court has struck down a key portion of the law, while another has upheld it.