Supreme Court Is Asked to Rule on Health Care

By Adam Liptak | The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration asked the Supreme Court on Wednesday to hear a case concerning the 2010 health care overhaul law. 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.

The Justice Department said the justices should hear its appeal of a decision by a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, in Atlanta, that struck down the centerpiece of the law by a 2-to-1 vote.

“The department has consistently and successfully defended this law in several courts of appeals, and only the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled it unconstitutional,” the Justice Department said in a statement. “We believe the question is appropriate for review by the Supreme Court. 

“Throughout history, there have been similar challenges to other landmark legislation, such as the Social Security Act, the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, and all of those challenges failed,” the statement continued.  “We believe the challenges to the Affordable Care Act — like the one in the 11th Circuit — will also ultimately fail and that the Supreme Court will uphold the law.”

On Monday, the administration announced that it would not seek review from the full 11th Circuit. Its Supreme Court petition was not due until November.

The administration did not explain why it did not take routine litigation steps that might have slowed the progress of the challenges enough to avoid a decision in the current Supreme Court term. It did say in its brief that the 11th Circuit’s decision striking down the central piece of a comprehensive regulatory scheme created “a matter of grave national importance.”

Read the complete article at The New York Times.

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