Thursday, February 3, 2011

Virginia to ask U.S. Supreme Court
to expedite hearing on health-care law

From Greg Stohr of Bloomberg News on Feb. 3:
Virginia will seek expedited U.S. Supreme Court review of President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul, asking the justices to take the rare step of considering the case without waiting for an appeals court decision.

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said today he will urge the high court to uphold a federal trial judge’s conclusion that Congress overstepped its authority by requiring Americans to either obtain insurance or pay a penalty.

Supreme Court experts said the court is unlikely to go along. The Justice Department said it would oppose immediate high court review, reducing the likelihood that the justices will agree to Virginia’s request.

“The department continues to believe this case should follow the ordinary course of allowing the court of appeals to hear it first,” said Tracy Schmaler, a Justice Department spokeswoman.

The Supreme Court has taken the step being sought by Cuccinelli, known as certiorari before judgment, only a handful of times in the past half century and generally only when the justices are simultaneously considering a related case that has cleared the appellate level.

Cuccinelli said the case was worthy of unusual treatment. A decision by the court to take up the case now would guarantee a ruling before the 2012 presidential election.


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