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Justices Set Aside Time in late March to Hear Challenges to ObamaCare

by | Dec 22, 2011

By Dave Andrusko

Pro-abortion President Barack Obama

And now we have the date the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments challenging ObamaCare. After agreeing last month to put aside five and a half hours to consider the issues, on Monday the Justices announced that they will hear those arguments in late March.

In recent decades the Justices have typically allotted  an hour per case on one day. That they would listen to four separate questions that arose from one suit over three days is universally understood to signal just how important a case the High Court believes this to be. That suit, begun in Florida, was brought by 26 state attorneys general and the National Federation of Independent Business.

On the first day (March 26), the court will consider for an hour a 19th century law known as the Anti-Injunction Act. It’s involves a threshold question of whether the High Court can rule until the mandate goes into effect in 2014 and someone refuses to pay a penalty because they have no health insurance. As the Los Angeles Times pointed out, since neither the plaintiffs nor the Obama administration relied on this to delay a decision, an outside lawyers was appointed by the Court to argue the point.

The next day the main issue: two hours over whether the “individual mandate” that everyone have health insurance is (as the plaintiffs argue)  an unconstitutional burden on people who do not want to buy insurance. The United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit held that it could when it struck down the provision.

On March 28, the court will devote an hour and a half to the “severability” issue. If the mandate is declared unconstitutional can this one provision be “severed”  so the rest of the law can stand? The same day the justices will consider ObamaCare’s expansion of the Medicaid program (which is jointly funded by the states and the federal government).

CNN’s Bill Mears described the question this way: “Can states be forced by the federal government to expand their share of Medicaid costs and administration, with the risk of losing that funding if they refuse?”

Two circuit courts of appeals declared ObamaCare constitutional—the 6th and the District of Columbia. One deemed it unconstitutional—the 11th circuit–while one (the 4th circuit) said until someone was forced to pay the penalty for not purchasing insurance, a challenge could not be brought.

From a pro-life perspective, there are multiple abortion-expanding provisions of ObamaCare. (See in an October 6 letter to the House of Representatives and in testimony by Legislative Director Douglas Johnson at www.nrlc.org/AHC/ProtectLifeActDouglasJohnsonTestimony.pdf.) It is those abortion-expanding  provisions  that the Protect Life Act, passed by the House October 13, are intended to remedy.

Specifically, ObamaCare includes provisions  that “provide authorizations for subsidies for abortion, both implicit and explicit, and also multiple provisions that opened doors to abortion-expanding administrative actions.”  The Protect Life Act would prohibit the use of any ObamaCare-authorized funds for abortions or to subsidize health plans that cover abortions, except to save the life of the mother, or in cases of rape or incest.

There are also provisions in ObamaCare  that virtually guarantee rationing, (See http://nrlc.org///HealthCareRationing/Index.html)

A decision is expected in June, right in heart of the 2012 presidential campaign.

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Categories: ObamaCare