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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Supreme Court to Determine the Constitutionality of Health Care Act

C-SPAN has a page exclusively devoted to this Supreme Court case here.

Below is the entire post from C-SPAN's website about ObamaCare at the Supreme Court:

The U.S. Supreme Court holds an unprecedented 6 hours of oral arguments beginning Monday in the multi-state lawsuit challenging the health care law. They will determine the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act. The case is Florida v. Department of Health & Human Services.

Three different circuit courts heard oral argument on the new health care law. In May 2011, the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia heard two cases on the health care law.

In Liberty University v. Geithner, the Court decided 2-1 that the individuals in the case could not challenge the law until after the law goes into effect. And Virginia v. Sebelius, the court dismissed the case on the rationale that the only plaintiff in the case, the Commonwealth of Virginia, had no legal right to bring a lawsuit because the individual mandate affects only individuals.

The first appellate court with a decision on the law was the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, Ohio in Thomas More Law Center v. Obama. The Court decided 2-1 to reject the Center’s argument that the individual mandate can never be constitutional, an argument known as a “facial challenge.”

In an opinion by Judge Jeffrey Sutton, a known conservative judge who clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia, the court held that it is constitutional to require all Americans to buy health insurance.

The next to hear a challenge to the health care law was at the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. That Court reached the opposite conclusion from the Sixth Circuit in the case brought by Florida and a group of twenty-five other states, along with the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

The Court sided with the challengers that the individual mandate is unconstitutional. The court also held that even if the individual mandate was unconstitutional, the rest of the health care law could still go into effect, a legal concept known as “severability.”

The 26 States in the lawsuit before the Supreme Court are: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

NOTE: C-SPAN's coverage kicks off at 7am (ET) with three hours of the Washington Journal, followed by LIVE coverage outside the Supreme Court for protests and a variety of lawyer and advocate press briefings. Around 1pm, we present the same-day audio recordings of the argument.

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