The U.S. Supreme Court today officially accepted legal challenges to the Obama health reform law, setting out a politically explosive road map that insures arguments and a decision on the controversial law during next year’s campaign for the White House.
Without comment, the Justices issued three writs of certiorari that covered a series of different challenges to the law, allotting five and a half hours of argument time on a series of legal points.
No dates were set for the arguments, but expectations are that they will take place in March of next year, with a decision likely by the end of June.
The White House immediately made clear that the Obama Administration is ready.
“We know the Affordable Care Act is constitutional and are confident the Supreme Court will agree,” said spokesman Dan Pfeiffer.
The Supreme Court broke the legal challenges down into four different items:
2 hours of argument on whether Congress had the power to enact the individual mandate and other minimum coverage health insurance provisions
90 minutes of argument on the question of if the individual mandate is unconstitutional, is the rest of the Obama health law also unconstitutional?
1 hour of argument of whether the Anti-Injunction Act does not allow the courts to rule on the individual mandate because it has not gone into effect yet
1 hour of argument on whether the Obama health reform law violates the 10th Amendment, principles of federalism and state sovereignty questions when it comes to the expansion of Medicaid health programs.
The basis for the challenges mainly stem from the multi-state challenge led by Florida, which has now been joined by over half the states.
Speaker John Boehner said he was “pleased to hear” that the Supreme Court would hear the challenge, arguing the health care law “is destroying jobs in America and must be repealed.”
The 5 and ½ hours allotted for arguments might not sound like much to many of you, but that is a huge amount of time – the usual case gets one hour before the justices.
More important cases sometimes get two hours – so, over five hours is a big deal, demonstrating just how controversial this matter has become.