SCOTUS Takes On Obamacare

On Monday the Supreme Court agreed to hear a challenge to the Obama administration’s landmark overhaul of the health care system. The decision to review the case came as little surprise as even the Obama administration had petitioned the court to do so after numerous conflicting rulings handed down by various courts of appeals.

The Supreme Court agreed to hear appeals from only one decision, that of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. In that decision a divided three-judge panel held the individual mandate amounted to an overstep of Congressional constitutional power. So far this is the only decision to hold the mandate unconstitutional as beyond the scope of either Congress’ power to regulate commerce or to lay and collect taxes.

The Supreme Court’s review will go beyond this immediate question. Not only will the justices consider whether the mandate is constitutional, but they will decide how much of the law survives if it is not. The administration has argued that the mandate is intertwined with other provisions like forbidding insurers from discriminating on the basis of a pre-existing condition. The decision from the 11th Circuit severed the mandate from the rest of the law, keeping those other provisions in place. Conservatives have asked the Supreme Court to go further and strike the entire law along with the mandate.

The Supreme Court will also review the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of the Medicaid program–a point the 11th Circuit ruled in favor of the administration on. Republican governors want the expansion ruled unconstitutional as beyond the reach of Congressional power as well, a point that if the court were to side with the conservative governors on would undermine nearly every social safety net program since they are almost all financed as conditional grants like Medicaid.

The court is also set to review the threshold issue of ripeness–that is, whether a challenge to the law is premature at this time. So while the Supreme Court only granted review of one petition, it is essentially dealing with all issues challenging the law.

In addition to granting review this term the court agreed to an unprecedented five hours of argument. Oral arguments will be held by March with a decision late in June, right in the middle of the 2012 presidential campaign.


Related Stories:

Conservative Judge Obliterates Challenge To Obamacare

US Chamber of Commerce Asks SCOTUS To Review Obamacare

Photo from steakpinball via flickr.


mary l.
mary l6 years ago

NO to obamacare

Suze O.
Suze Q6 years ago

Thank all of you here commenting who stand AGAINST Obamacare. Kagan needs to be forced to recuse herself on Obamacare since she was directly involved in drafting this monster. And yes Congress passed it with underhanded arm-twisting tricks used by the liberals, typical behavior of Pelosi & Co. It is now so obvious that much of Congress is corrupt since we now know they voted themselves exempt from insider trading while you and I would be convicted for insider trading--I am wondering how many of them have any concern for the public they are supposed to serve! Seems these politicians and judges serve themselves with the votes that put them in office. Lets see if the Supreme Court is also corrupt for Obamacare needs to be deemed illegal!

Heather G.
Heather G6 years ago

But Debbie W, aren't you in favor of FORCE when it comes to women's reproductive choices?

Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W6 years ago


Beth Davis
Beth D6 years ago

For all you people complaining about having to buy health insurance, and don't want to, I got news for you. There are alot more of us who don't want to continue to PAY for you, when you go to emergency rooms. They are forced to take you (well, not everywhere, apparently) and those costs get passed on to the rest of us. You think that's fair? The insurance companies win either way, they get premiums from customers, or they find ways not to pay out, or to discriminate (like pre existing conditions) or plain drop you because your issues will be costly. Like say, cancer. Do you realize these things are what has driven the costs up? Go to the hospital for 1 night and get charged thousands of dollars...for what? The sheets and laundry can't be it, the food can't be it, the doctors may see you for 10 minutes, the meds you may get can cost because big pharma likes to profit. I was billed $6.00 for a bandaid, you think this is the way for America to go,status quo? So we can be ripped off more and more by the corporations that own hospitals?
It is my understanding that this law isn't written in stone and changes can be made, to various parts. Also this law is not in affect fully yet so how can you be booing that which we don't know? The government (republicons) are trying to take away your rights, while the government ( democrats) are trying to give you health care. The repubs are protecting insurance monopolies right to overcharge you or reject you, the dems want you to live with so

Sue Matheson
Sue Matheson6 years ago


Cora B.
Cora Bird6 years ago

Kagan and Sotomayor should be recused from ruling as they are both highly prejudiced in favor of Obama-care. What will be mandated next for the American people to have to buy? An electric car? Where is the precedent for this mandate? Interesting that the Dems took lots of health insurance company donations before they voted in Obamacare but now the Repubs are taking even more as the insurance companies want this individual mandate upheld. This isn't any real help to the American people to be forced to buy something you don't want or can't afford.

Hope S.
Hope Sellers6 years ago

With the likes of Clarence Thomas, who has no ethics, on the Supreme Court they have lost the confidence of our citizens so who knows how they will find.

Debbie W.
Past Member 6 years ago


Don't expect much from the heady SUPREME Court ... considering not only whether the mandate is constitutional, but how much of the law survives if it is not.

Perhaps it's time to separate the "intertwined" issues, judging each on its own merits or lack thereof. By separating the wheat from the shaft via a STRAIGHT YES OR NO VOTE ON A SINGLE ISSUE, some worthy and actual progress can be made towards a greater good.

Only in my dreams? Probably, just give me a moment.

Nancy L.
Nancy L6 years ago

The whole Obamacare plan is a joke. Stay out of my health issues. The govt. has no business whatsoever telling me what to do.