It’s official, the Supreme Court announced this morning that it will hear arguments regarding the constitutionality of ObamaCare, President Barack Obama’s signature legislative accomplishment, at some point during the Spring:
The Supreme Court said on Monday it would consider the challenge to last year’s health care reform law, setting up a major ruling on the Obama administration’s signature legislative achievement just months before the presidential election.
The case is likely to be heard in March, meaning that a final decision is likely at the end of the Court’s term, in June.
Apparently in recognition of the complexity of the issues presented by the cases, the Court has asked for an unusual amount of time for oral arguments. The order said the court would listen to five and a half hours of arguments—a rare departure from its usual practice of allocating an hour to hear a case.
The arguments will revolve around four issues — most notably the individual mandate, which requires individual Americans to purchase a government-approved health insurance plan. SCOTUSBlog has a run-down of the what exactly the Court will hear:
The Court, however, did not grant all of the issues raised and it chose issues to review only from three of the five separate appeals before it. It is unclear, at this point, whether all of the cases will be heard on a single day.
The Supreme Court finished out the third and final day of oral arguments yesterday on ObamaCare with severability being the first issue the of the day. The question before the the Justices is if the individual mandate is indeed unconstitutional, does that mean the rest of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) have to be thrown out? The second issue before the court yesterday was whether or not Medicaid expansion would be coercive to the states and therefore unconstitutional.
Philip Klein, who has been covering oral arguments before Supreme Court on the PPACA for the last three days, provides a recap of the severability arguments:
ustices on the U.S. Supreme Court this morning considered what to do with the rest of President Obama’s national health care law if its individual health insurance mandate is struck down. Though it was difficult to get a clear read on their thinking as they asked tough questions of all sides, the Court seemed open to the possibility of overturning the entire law.
Paul Clement, arguing for the 26 states challenging the law along with the National Federation of Independent Business, started off the arguments by suggesting the Court look at whether Congress would have passed the law without the individual mandate.
The more liberal justices argued that there were plenty of elements of the law that had nothing to do with the mandate.
Yesterday was an interesting day at the Supreme Court. Justices heard the case on the individual mandate from both sides, with Solicitor General Donald Verrilli arguing the case for central part of ObamaCare and Paul Clement and Michael Carvin presenting the case against it. If you support the individual mandate, then it wasn’t a good day. If you oppose ObamaCare, there was reason for optimism that it will be struck down.
In case you missed it, you can listen to the oral arguments below and read the transcript from the Supreme Court’s website: