Supreme Court to Conference ACA Challenges on November 10th

Lyle Denniston reporting on ScotusBlog:

The Supreme Court will take its first look at the challenges to the new federal health care law at its Conference on Thursday, November 10.  Five of the six pending petitions (the sixth is not ready yet) were distributed to the Justices’ chambers on Wednesday, for consideration at that private session.  Although a grant of review is not assured, that is highly likely, since all sides agree that the Court should take on the controversy, and the constitutionality of a keyprovision of the new law has been decided differently by federal appeals courts.

It will be up to the Justices themselves to decide (a) which petitions, if not all of the five, should be reviewed, (b) which issues it is ready to decide, (c) how to line up the lawyers on each side of those issues, and (d) how much time to allow for oral argument.   Because the five are now ready for the Court’s consideration, a grant of review soon would assure that they could be heard and decided during the current Term of the Court, which is due to run until near the end of June.

The first decision the Court will face in this historic dispute is whether to grant any of the petitions  or any of the issues.   The Justices have the discretion to grant all, some, or none, since none reached the Court as a mandatory appeal.

Four of the petitions were filed by challengers, and together they raise all of the key issues the Justices may want to consider as they examine the massive Affordable Care Act passed by Congress at the urging of President Obama.  The fifth petition is the federal government’s. defending the constitutionality of the insurance-purchase mandate that is crucial to the overall law’s functioning.  The government also is urging the Court to keep its review to only a few vital questions.

The sixth pending petition involves an attempt by the state of Virginia to get back into the constitutional fray; the Fourth Circuit Court ruled that Virginia did not have a legal right to bring its court challenge, since it could not show that the state would suffer any harm from the new insurance mandate.   That case will be ready only when the federal government files a response, which currently is due on Nov. 3.  The government has not hurried its filing of a response in this case, as it had done in most of the others.

Read the rest of the post describing each lawsuit here.

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