Friday, February 11, 2011

Health reform rollercoaster on fast track to Supreme Court?

Do you ever feel you’re on a rollercoaster ride when following health care reform developments? The ups, the downs, the twists and turns. Well, hold onto your hats folks, because your trip might be speeding toward the Supreme Court.

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has filed a petition asking the United States Supreme Court to take Virginia’s health care lawsuit now, as opposed to waiting for the case to first be decided by the court of appeals. The Petition for Certiorari Before Judgment in the United States Supreme Court in the case of Commonwealth v. Sebelius was filed pursuant to Rule 11 of the Rules of the United States Supreme Court, according to a press release from the Virginia AG’s office.

The AG explains that normally, appeals of decisions of United States district courts are first heard in the federal courts of appeals. But Rule 11 provides that an immediate review in the U.S. Supreme Court is permissible “upon a showing that the case is of such imperative public importance as to justify deviation from normal appellate practice and to require immediate determination in” the Supreme Court.

Cuccinelli noted, “Rule 11 is the exception to the general rule, but this case and the other cases challenging the constitutionality of PPACA are truly exceptional in their own right. There are a number of suits pending throughout the country challenging the constitutionality of PPACA. Presently, 28 states have filed suits challenging the authority of Congress to enact this law. That, in and of itself, is exceptional and makes the cases excellent candidates for immediate review in the Supreme Court.”
Media reports indicate the Department of Justice opposes a direct review by the Supreme Court. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has set oral arguments for the case for May.

For a comprehensive analysis of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and additional information on health reform and other developments in employee benefits, just click here.


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