WASHINGTON — In the anticipation before and subsequent tumult after the Supreme Court’s ruling, one memory repeatedly flowed from the lips and signs of supporters of the health care law.
“Now he can rest in peace,’’ House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said, referring to Edward M. Kennedy. “His dream for America’s families has become a reality.”
Kennedy had frequently alluded to the long struggle for health care coverage for all Americans as the fight of his life. In the early 1970s, he crisscrossed the country, holding a series of forums on the issue. Upon returning to the capital, Kennedy proposed a far-reaching bill that would essentially provide coverage for all Americans, as Medicare does for seniors.
He was an early backer of the presidential candidacy of Barack Obama. Hobbled by a brain tumor and kidney stones, Kennedy electrified the Democratic National Convention in 2008 with his call to arms to pass comprehensive coverage. He died in the summer of 2009, about seven months before Congress passed the law.
Pelosi, who was speaker of the House when the law was passed, said she spoke with Kennedy’s widow, Vicki, and son Patrick, a former Rhode Island congressman, to thank them “for the important role that he played. . . . [Senator Kennedy] called it the great unfinished business of our country, of our society.”
“I knew that when he left us, he would go to heaven and help pass the bill,” Pelosi told reporters during a news conference.
Vicki Kennedy released a statement praising the court’s ruling: “As my late husband Senator Edward Kennedy said: ‘What we face is above all a moral issue; that at stake are not just the details of policy, but fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country.’ ”
Earlier in the day, Edward Kimmel, a Washington area attorney, held up a large sign bearing the face of Kennedy. “The Dream Shall Never Die,” his sign said.
Supporters of the law scheduled a rally Thursday night on Boston Common to honor Edward Kennedy and celebrate the ruling.
Bobby Caina Calvan
In scramble to get out news, CNN and Fox got it wrong
NEW YORK — A rush to quickly report the Supreme Court’s decision tripped up some news organizations.
Both CNN and Fox News Channel initially reported that the law’s central provision, requiring virtually all Americans to have health insurance, had been struck down.
The Associated Press got it right, as did other news organizations and broadcast television outlets, generally. A minute after the AP flash alert at 10:07 a.m., The New York Times asked for time, with Washington bureau chief David Leonhardt posting that the decision was being analyzed.
‘‘Once we are comfortable with its basic meaning, you can expect a torrent of coverage,’’ he said.