High Court Nixes Early Review of Lawsuit Challenging Reform Law
In its latest court order list released Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's (R) appeal for an expedited review of the state's lawsuit against the federal health reform law, the Wall Street Journal reports (Kendall, Wall Street Journal, 4/25).
Background on Lawsuit
In a formal petition to the high court, Cuccinelli requested an expedited review of U.S. District Court Judge Henry Hudson's December 2010 ruling in the state's lawsuit. Hudson concluded that the reform law's individual mandate -- which requires most U.S. residents to purchase health insurance coverage by 2014 or face a penalty -- is unconstitutional because it exceeds Congress' power to regulate interstate commerce.
While Hudson struck down a central provision in the law, he did not invalidate the law or block its implementation.
Cuccinelli, in the petition, wrote that "significant damage" would be "inflict[ed]" on states and other entities if the question about the law's constitutionality was not resolved quickly (California Healthline, 3/24).
'Disappointing,' but 'Not Surprising'
According to the Washington Post, the Supreme Court's decision to announce its rejection of Cuccinelli's appeal without elaboration or noted dissent is not surprising because the high court rarely takes up a case before it has been fully adjudicated in a federal appeals court (Barnes, Washington Post, 4/25).
In a statement released on Monday, Cuccinelli said the Supreme Court's denial of his fast-track appeal was "disappointing" but "not surprising."
He said that filing the request for an expedited review "was about removing this crippling and costly uncertainty as quickly as possible."
He acknowledged that although "[t]his case's logical end point is the Supreme Court," it would "simply have to make its way through the Fourth Circuit first" (Haberkorn, Politico, 4/25).
According to the New York Times, there was no indication that any of the justices disqualified themselves from the case, seemingly settling the question of whether Justice Elena Kagan, a former U.S. solicitor general, would participate when the case reaches the high court, likely in October.
On May 10, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will begin hearing oral arguments in the Obama administration's appeal of Hudson's ruling, as well as an appeal of another ruling in a Virginia-based lawsuit filed by Liberty University (Liptak, New York Times, 4/25).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.