Saturday, March 24, 2012

Supreme Court set to hear Oral Arguments on Historic Obama Health Act Monday

The Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments on the legality of the controversial Affordable care and Patient Protection Act on Monday, in a case that has riveted the nation and already drawn conflicting lower Court rulings in the Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal, (as we have previously written on).

In a historic move unprecedented for an Act of Congress, the Supreme Court also plans to devote a full six hours of debate, 2 hours each on Monday, Tues. and Wednesday to address different issues re: the controversial legislation passed by the "lameduck" Democratic House after the 2010 mid-term elections which saw Republicans take over the chamber largely fueled by an anti-Obamacare backlash among especially-motivated conservative voters such as the Tea Party.

The court opens its marathon two hour session Monday by addressing the Anti-Injunction Act, an archaic law which will require the justices to determine if the IRS "penalties" in the Affordable Care Act are really "taxes," which would require the justices not to address the broader constitutional questions in the Act until payment of the "tax" by individual taxpayers, or a "penalty," which would allow the High Court to rule on the Act in time for the 2012 Presidential elections on November 6.

This will be followed by two hours on Tuesday devoted to the heart of the ACA, the constitutionality of the "individual mandate" to purchase health insurance that has already been struck down by two Federal Courts, and two hours Wed. in which the court will consider the issue of "severability," i.e., (whether or not the unpopular "individual mandate" can be separated from the rest of the law or the whole law must be struck down, a matter on which the Courts of Appeal have differed in their conclusions).

In advance of the hearings, protesters on both sides have already begun to converge on the steps of the Court and the sidewalk below with signs expressing either their support or disapproval of the law, a development that is only likely to intensify leading up to the Court's consideration of the law.

The attorney general Eric Holder, as well as various other dignitaries, and, if you're one of the public lucky enough to have "won" one of 400 seats via an established "lottery" of those who will be allowed to sit and listen to the historic arguments of the Court live, will be present for oral arguments, after which the justices will meet and hold a preliminary vote on the fate of the law later in the week.

A written decision by the Court either upholding or striking down the law is expected by the end of the Court's term in June.  And although no one knows at this point which way the court will rule on the Constitutional issues at stake, one thing is for certain.  This issue is not going away and is likely to become a driving force in the upcoming Presidential elections no matter which way the Court rules.   On that there can be little doubt, even if that is the only thing both sides of this historic matter can agree on. We shall strive to keep you apprised of further developments in this matter of critical import to the nation. jp

No comments:

Post a Comment