By Paige Winfield Cunningham
The Supreme Court has announced it will allow a full six hours for oral arguments over constitutional challenges to President Obama's health care law, granting the case the longest hearing in recent history.
The justices said Tuesday morning they would lengthen the hearing by an additional 30 minutes, after both the administration and parties challenging the law had asked the court to spend not 60 but 90 minutes on a tax law known as the Anti-Injunction Act.
The question is whether the act stands in the way of judicial action on the challenge until after the health care law fully goes into effect.
With the extra 30 minutes, the court is slated to spend 90 minutes on the Anti-Injunction Act, 120 minutes on the law's individual mandate that all Americans purchase health insurance, 90 minutes on whether just parts of the act can be invalidated while allowing other parts to stand, and an hour on the Medicaid expansion contained in the new law over a three-day period in March.
If the justices decide the Anti-Injunction Act applies, they could put off a decision on whether the health care law is constitutional for several years.