Challenges to the the healthcare law aimed at its central ‘mandate to purchase’ coverage have been entered into, or heard by, courts in a number of states. In a surprise move, the Obama administration leapfrogged over them all and asked the Supreme Court to hear the case.
Pundits are trying to figure out what to make of this.
The development, which came unexpectedly fast, makes it all but certain that the court will soon agree to hear one or more cases involving challenges to the law, with arguments by the spring and a decision by June, in time to land in the middle of the 2012 presidential campaign.
Well there it is.
The law, passed by Congress and signed by Obama in 2010 after a bruising political battle, is expected to be a major issue in the 2012 elections as Obama seeks another four-year term. Republican presidential candidates oppose it and Republicans in Congress have pushed to repeal the law.
The next step was expected to be a challenge in the federal appeals court over the individual mandate. However…
The Obama administration earlier this week said it decided against asking the full U.S. Appeals Court for the 11th Circuit to review the August ruling by a three-judge panel of the court that found the insurance requirement unconstitutional.
That decision cleared the way for the administration to go to the Supreme Court.
Which seemed to surprise just about everyone.
And just to note…
A senior Justice Department official told reporters that political considerations played no role in moving for Supreme Court review.
The Supreme Court opens its new session next week. This is going to be an interesting year.