A federal appeals court in Washington upheld the Obama administration's healthcare law on Tuesday in a decision written by a prominent conservative jurist. The decision came as the Supreme Court is about to consider whether to take up challenges to the Affordable Care Act, a milestone legislative initiative of the administration. Of four appellate court rulings on the healthcare law so far, this is the third to deal with the law on the merits, and the second that upholds it. The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in Washington issued the 37-page opinion by Judge Laurence H. Silberman. In the opinion, Judge Silberman, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan, described the law as part of the fundamental tension between individual liberty and legislative power.