In a sweeping review that will require 5 1/2 hours of oral argument time, U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide the constitutionality of the individual health care coverage mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
In addition to deciding whether the mandate was within Congress’s authority under the Commerce Clause, the Court also agreed to consider whether the provision is severable from the rest of the law – a decision which could decide the fate of the law in its entirety.
But the Court may not even reach the constitutional question. The justices also agreed to consider whether the challenge to the health care law is barred by the Anti-Injunction Act, which prevents challenges to federal tax provisions before they go into effect. That question could push the constitutional question off until after 2014, when the individual mandate takes effect.
One of the three cases has been allotted a whopping 3 hours of oral argument time. The other two will have 90 minutes and one hour respectively.
Much more on today’s developments to come later on Lawyers USA’s new Supreme Court Report page.