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Challenging Obamacare

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Challenging Obamacare


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Supreme Court will hear arguments for and against constitutionality of Obamacare. 

by Stephen Lendman

Last November, the Supreme Court agreed to hear challenge arguments against Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) - aka Obamacare.

From March 26 - 28, oral arguments on PPACA's constitutionality will be heard, especially certain provisions. A decision is expected by June.

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Contentious issues include:


  • mandating all adults have health insurance or be taxed to compensate;
  • PPACA's Medicaid expansion provisions; and 
  • whether the Anti-Injunction Act bars courts from reviewing the individual mandate until it's effective in January 2014; "severability" also is also at issue: namely, whether one issue can be struck down while leaving others intact.

Many of PPACA's provisions took effect. Others, including the individual mandate, begin in January 2014. "Severability" opponents say PPACA provisions are too interconnected to permit striking it.

Lower courts differed on its constitutionality. Last June, the Six Circuit Court of Appeals upheld it based on the Constitution's Commerce Clause. In August, a Florida district judge ruled it unconstitutional. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals overturned his decision. It found PPACA could stand if the individual mandate's removed.

Last November, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia also upheld the individual mandate based on the Commerce Clause.

The Supreme Court chose to review the Florida case. It includes 25 other states as plaintiffs, as well as the National Federation of Independent Business.

In addition, 136 amicus briefs ("friends of the court") were filed for Court consideration. It's a third more than the previous record number. 

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Appellate lawyers specializing in preparing them say they cost from $25,000 - $50,000 each. During the Court's last term, justices cited only 8% of 628 NGO briefs filed. Of those, around half were written by prominent Washington-based attorneys specializing in Supreme Court cases.

Former Justice John Paul Stevens complained of amici fatigue. Justice Antonin Scalia said he lets law clerks read them. As a result, groups filing them face stiff headwinds.

The High Court could rule several ways, including:

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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