Caroline Cournoyer is GOVERNING's deputy web editor.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The U.S. Supreme Court has decided Monday it would hear oral arguments on the constitutionality of President Barack Obama's controversial and sweeping health care reform law.
The High Court issued its decision in a brief order and will hear five hours of oral arguments on whether Congress overstepped its authority in mandating that individuals purchase health insurance.
Five separate appeals were filed against the federal government for the law referred to by many as “Obamacare,” but the nine justices have decided to hear only three them. In March, the court will listen to arguments surrounding the law’s requirement that all Americans have health insurance by 2014 and whether the law should be struck down if this mandate is ruled unconstitutional. The justices will also decide the constitutionality of law’s expansion of Medicaid – the issue that has concerned states the most.
Since Obama signed the law March 22, 2010, nearly 30 lawsuits have been filed challenging it – the first of which occurred just six minutes after the president’s signing, according to the SCOTUSblog. Virginia, one of the first states to challenge the law, did so on the basis that the federal law conflicted with an existing state law.
The ACA issue also popped up in last week’s special elections when Ohio voters passed a ballot measure to ban the government from requiring Americans to have health insurance – the centerpiece of the federal health care law. The measure was largely symbolic, though, and presumably carries no legal weight.
The judges will hear oral arguments in March, according to the SCOTUSblog, but a ruling isn’t expected until June – in the midst of the 2012 presidential election.