The U.S. Supreme Court has scheduled arguments for the federal health care law over a three-day period in late March.
Arguments for the health care law
will begin March 26. The 5 ½ hours the court has dedicated to the case is thought to be the most time set aside for a single case since the 1960s.
The Supreme Court will begin on March 26 with one hour of arguments on an issue that could postpone a decision until 2014.
The Anti-Injunction Act requires judges to wait until a taxpayer has paid a tax and then sought a refund before striking down a tax. Under the federal health care reform law, an individual who has not obtained insurance by 2014 will be required to pay a penalty in their taxes for 2015. If the court decides this penalty is a tax, the judges will not be able to rule on it until 2015.
If the court does not consider the penalty a tax, it is likely it will issue a ruling on the law next June, in the midst of the 2012 presidential campaign.
On March 27, the second day of arguments, the court will give two hours to the argument that has been the focus of lawsuits against the health care reform law — whether it is constitutional to require an individual to purchase health insurance.
On March 28, the court will begin with one hour dedicated to a question that will arise if the judges rule the individual mandate unconstitutional. Should the law be struck down
in its entirety or can it be severed, allowing the rest of the law to stand?
In addition, the court will devote an hour of arguments on March 28 to whether Congress violated states’ rights by expanding the Medicaid program in the health care law.