RICHMOND, Va. – A panel of three federal appeals court judges aggressively questioned attorneys Tuesday during arguments over the constitutionality of the federal health care overhaul – appearing particularly skeptical of arguments that sought to invalidate the law.

During a hearing that lasted more than two hours, the judges – all appointed by Democratic presidents – frequently interrupted lawyers on both sides to probe their legal positions.

Both cases – brought separately by Liberty University in Lynchburg and Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, R, – argue that Congress exceeded its constitutional authority to regulate interstate commerce by requiring that individuals obtain health insurance by 2014 or pay a penalty.

The judges Tuesday offered no indication of how long they would take before deciding the cases, which resulted from appeals of contradictory lower court decisions.

U.S. District Judge Judge Norman Moon upheld the constitutionality of the law in a ruling on the case of Liberty, a private religious college, while in Cuccinelli’s case, Judge Henry Hudson found that the insurance mandate was unconstitutional.

The lawsuits are two of more than 30 filed across the country challenging the federal law. An appeals court in Atlanta is scheduled to hear oral arguments next month on a challenge filed jointly by 26 states in Florida.

Of the 14 judges on the 4th Circuit, seven were appointed by Republicans and seven by Democrats. But the panel selected by a computerized lottery to hear Tuesday’s arguments was composed of Judge Diana Gribbon Motz, appointed by President Clinton, and Judges Andre Davis and James Wynn, who are President Obama’s appointees.

The judges seemed particularly dubious of Virginia’s assertion that it has legal standing to sue. A lower court judge had previously accepted Cuccinelli’s contention that Virginia has a sovereign interest in protecting a state law that makes it illegal to require Virginians to be insured.