SCOTUS May Take Up ObamaCare Again

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by pspr, Oct 1, 2012.

  1. pspr


    The Supreme Court opened its new Term on Monday by asking the federal government to offer its views on whether the way should be cleared for new constitutional challenges to the federal health care law — including a new protest against the individual mandate that the Court had upheld last June. The request for the government’s views came in response to a rehearing request by a religious-oriented institution, Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. The university’s earlier petition was simply denied in June, so it asked the Court to reconsider and wipe out a lower court ruling in order to revive the university’s religious challenges to both the individual mandate and the separate insurance coverage mandate for employers. There is also another challenge to the employer mandate, which did not figure in the Court’s decision last Term.

    By Lyle Denniston
  2. jem


    I wonder if Roberts had a change of heart... again.
    I wonder if they can fast track this... for before the election.

    Less than a month after the Court had ruled, Liberty’s lawyers filed their motion for a rehearing. What they sought was a withdrawal of the Court’s prior order that simply denied any review of Liberty’s petition (that was one of several petitions that the Court never accepted for review, but disposed of with simple orders after the health care ruling came out). Liberty’s rehearing plea asked that, in place of a simple denial, the Court vacate the Fourth Circuit ruling that it lacked jurisdiction, and remand the case to be reconsidered in the wake of the health care decision.

    If the Court agrees to do that, Liberty’s attorneys said, they would renew their claim that the individual mandate was unconstitutional on religious freedom grounds, and that the employer mandate was unconstitutional on all grounds — under the Commerce Clause, the Necessary and Proper Clause, and the Taxing Clause.

    Ordinarily, the Court simply denies rehearing pleas with routine orders. The other side in such a situation is not even allowed to react to the rehearing petition unless the Court explicitly asks it to do so. The Court held onto the Liberty rehearing plea over the summer — a period during which it routinely denied a host of other rehearing petitions, without comment. The Justices took up the Liberty plea at their September 24 Conference, resulting in Monday’s order asking the Obama Administration to file a response — within thirty days – with advice on what the Court should do with the Liberty case. While not signaling what the ultimate disposition might be, that was a sufficient break from the normal practice that it carried at least potential significance.

    Under the Court’s rules, a party seeking to undo a denial of a petition must show that there have been “intervening circumstances of a substantial or controlling effect” or a substantial argument that had not been made earlier. Liberty told the Court that its decision in the health care case was the changed circumstance, and it thus wished to take advantage of that when the case got back to the Fourth Circuit in Richmond. A rehearing plea must also carry with it a formal statement by attorneys that they are not asking for relief to delay the case, and that they are making the request “in good faith.”

    Once the Obama Administration’s Justice Department files the response sought by the Court Monday, the Court will then act. It has the option, of course, of denying the rehearing petition without giving an explanation, especially if it finds no basis for reviving Liberty’s claims. There is no timetable for the Court to act on the petition after the government response has been filed at the end of this month.
  3. pspr


    Although the court may act in an expeditious way, for the court, if it agrees to a rehearing, I don't see the arguments being heard until 2013 and a decision not until next summer. It happening any sooner would be light speed for SCOTUS.

    Hopefully, President Romney and Republicans in the House and Senate will have replaced the law with something realistic by then or soon after.