Rule of Law

Supreme Court to decide fate of ObamaCare next year

Ruling on individual mandates to come months before 2012 elections


WASHINGTON – The nation’s highest court will weigh in on President Obama’s landmark health care law in the midst of the 2012 election.

Courts around the country have issued conflicting rulings on the constitutionality of Obamacare, requiring the showdown announced Monday by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Arguments before the justices – five appointed by Republican presidents, four by Democrats — are scheduled for March, with a decision likely by late June, just over four months before Election Day.

Key to most challenges is the law’s individual mandate, which will require that all Americans buy health insurance starting in 2014.

Conservatives generally claim the mandate is unconstitutional.

Republican presidential hopefuls have pledged to make repeal of the 2010 law a top priority if elected.

Newt Gingrich tweeted: “Pleased that the Court has decided to hear Obamacare case. First item in my new contract is repeal & replace Obamacare.”

A confident White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said the administration is “pleased” by the high court’s decision.

“We know the Affordable Care Act is constitutional and are confident the Supreme Court will agree,” Pfeiffer said in a statement.

Doug Kendall, head of the left-leaning Constitutional Accountability Center, noted that conservative jurists, including senior judge Laurence Silberman of the District of Columbia U.S. Court of Appeals and U.S. Sixth Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey Sutton, have ruled that Obamacare is constitutional.

“The question is what the court will do with it, and on that question, we hope and expect the Supreme Court will adopt the reasoning of preeminent conservatives like Judges Silberman and Sutton and uphold the law,” Kendall said.