Several Supreme Court justices seem receptive to the idea that portions of the health care law can survive even if the court declares the heart of the law unconstitutional.

On the third and last day of arguments, the justices questioned Paul Clement, a lawyer for 26 states seeking to have the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act tossed out in its entirety.

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In their questions, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Ruth Bader Ginsburg — and even conservative Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Antonin Scalia — seem open to the idea that the wide-ranging law contains provisions that can be saved — even if the mandate is struck down.

White House voices confidence in solicitor general

The White House says it has "every confidence" in the solicitor general's handling of the Supreme Court debate over President Barack Obama's health care law.

In a statement, White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler says Solicitor General Donald Verrilli has "ably and skillfully represented the United States before the Supreme Court." Ruemmler praised Verrilli for his "keen judgment" and "unquestionable integrity."

Verrilli is the Obama administration's official representative in front of the Supreme Court. He's tasked with arguing in favor of a mandate in the health care law that requires nearly every American to carry insurance, and he's faced tough questions from many of the justices about the constitutionality of the mandate.

Wednesday is the last of three days of arguments on the provision.

Supreme Court justices will look at whether President Barack Obama's health care overhaul can survive without the requirement that everyone purchase health insurance.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)