Supreme Court to Hear Healthcare Arguments in March

With the GOP’s primary election season underway, there has been much discussion surrounding President Obama’s healthcare law. In an article recently published by David G. Savage of the Los Angeles Times titled, “Justices to Hear Healthcare Law Arguments in March,” he summarizes how the US Supreme Court intends to determine the constitutionality of this newly enacted legislation.

The US Supreme Court has scheduled oral argument regarding the healthcare law for March 26, 27, and 28. The court will address three separate questions on each date.

On March 26 the Court will determine whether the penalty set to be imposed by the healthcare law for citizens without health insurance in 2014 constitutes a “tax” under the meaning of the Tax Anti-Injunction Act (which was first enacted in 1867). The Anti-Injunction Act would preclude the justices from ruling on the constitutionality of the tax until 2015 because that law forbids judges from striking taxes until the taxpayer has paid the tax and sought a refund.

On March 27, the court will hear argument surrounding the primary issue of the healthcare law: Is the mandate that each individual have insurance a valid regulation or an unconstitutional burden on people who do not want to buy insurance?

Finally on March 28, the court will decide whether the entire healthcare statute must fall if the mandate is struck down, or can it be severed so that the rest of the law remains in effect?

The Supreme Court is expected to release their finalized opinions on these issues by late June.

michael penn

Michael A. Penn