The Obama administration chose not to ask the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to re-hear a pivotal health reform case Monday, signaling that it’s going to ask the Supreme Court to decide whether President Barack Obama’s health reform law is constitutional.
The move puts the Supreme Court in the difficult position of having to decide whether to take the highly politically charged case in the middle of the presidential election.
The Justice Department is expected to ask the court to overturn an August decision by a panel of three judges in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that found the law’s requirement to buy insurance is unconstitutional. The suit was brought by 26 states, the National Federation of Independent Business, and several individuals.
Since the ruling, the Justice Department had until Monday to ask the entire 11th Circuit to review the case. Administration lawyers didn’t file the paperwork by the 5 p.m. deadline, so the ruling would stand unless the Justice Department asks the Supreme Court to step in.
The petition isn’t due until November, and the administration could get an extension.
Opponents of the law had expected the government to ask for the so-called en banc hearing to delay a ruling by the Supreme Court.
“The president and solicitor general deserve full credit for refusing to employ delaying tactics in this pressing constitutional controversy,” said Randy E. Barnett, a Georgetown Law professor who is working with the plaintiffs.
But former acting Solicitor General Walter Dellinger, who has worked on briefs in support of the legislation, said the move should be read as a sign of confidence from the administration.
“This confirms what I had already concluded: That the government is confident that it’s going to prevail in the Supreme Court and would like to have a decision sooner rather than later,” Dellinger told POLITICO.
The issue of the constitutionality of the individual mandate has been widely expected to be decided by the Supreme Court. The key question has been the timing.
So, it looks like the Supremes will take up the case during this year’s term and render a decision during the Presidential election. If SCOTUS accepts the case by January, it could be heard in the Spring with a decision sometime in June.
ObamaCare WILL be an issue during the Presidential campaign season and if SCOTUS were to rule the law constitutional, it could galvanize the RIGHT to defeat President Obama in November.