Supreme Court Argument On PPACA Set For March 26-28

The Supreme Court has taken the somewhat unusual step of setting aside three days on its calendar just to hear the various aspects of the Constitutional challenge to the Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act:

The Supreme Court will hear arguments on President Obama’s healthcare law over a three-day span in late March.

The schedule further confirms the universal expectation that the court will issue a ruling on the healthcare law next June, at the height of the 2012 campaign.

The Supreme Court will begin on March 26 with one hour of arguments on whether it can reach a decision on the reform law before 2014. There is a possibility that a separate federal law will prevent the courts from ruling until the law’s individual mandate has taken effect.

On March 27, the justices will hear two hours of arguments on the core question of whether the mandate is unconstitutional.

And on March 28, the court will hear arguments on two issues: how much, if any, of the law’s other provisions can be upheld if the mandate is unconstitutional, and whether the health law’s Medicaid expansion is constitutional.

There hasn’t been another case in recent memory that’s been argued on this kind of schedule, and it no doubt reflects the Court’s own recognition of the complexity and importance of the issues involved. Additionally, setting each individual issues for argument on separate days allows the Justices to prepare for each argument individually rather than re-familiarizing themselves with all the briefs at once and spending an entire day in a 5 1/2 hour hearing.

There was no announcement today, but it doesn’t appear the Court has ruled yet on the various applications that have been filed by media entities to allow these arguments to be televised live. My suspicion is that they will deny that request.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Healthcare Policy, Law and the Courts, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.