WASHINGTON – Challenges to the nation’s new health care law will play out in the U.S. Supreme Court over three days in March.
The justices on Monday released the March argument calendar, which sets arguments on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act for three days on the final week of March’s two-week argument session. The Court will hear only health care arguments on those three days.
The Court last month agreed to decide four questions about the controversial law. Here is how the justices have divided and scheduled those questions for arguments:
• March 26: whether the Anti-Injunction Act bars the suit challenging the law’s minimum coverage requirement (60 minutes, which may be expanded)
• March 27: whether Congress had authority under Article I of the Constitution to enact the minimum coverage provision (2 hours)
• March 28: whether the minimum coverage provision, if struck down, is severable from the law (90 minutes) and whether the health law’s expansion of Medicaid eligibility exceeds Congress’ spending power (60 minutes)
The justices last month granted review in three petitions, all from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. That court was the only one of four reviewing the statute to strike down the heart of the new law: the mandate that individuals who can afford health insurance must purchase coverage or pay a penalty. State of Florida v. Department of HHS, 11-11021, 11067.
The parties that are before the high court in the health care challenges are the United States, represented by Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr.; 26 state attorneys general, represented by Paul Clement of Washington’s Bancroft; and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), represented by Michael Carvin of Jones Day.
In November, the justices also appointed as amicus H. Bartow Farr III of D.C.’s Farr & Taranto to defend the Eleventh Circuit’s ruling that the law’s minimum insurance coverage requirement—the so-called individual mandate—is severable from the rest of the law. And Covington & Burling’s Robert Long was asked to make the argument—abandoned by the United States—that the Anti-Injunction Act bars the state attorneys general’s challenge to the mandate.
@|Tony Mauro covers the U.S. Supreme Court for ALM, the Law Journal’s parent. He can be contacted at email@example.com.