Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Only rarely, in wartime or a constitutional crisis, does the court step into a legal fight before the issues are aired in appellate courts. Hearings already are scheduled in May and June in three appeals courts.
Justice Elena Kagan apparently took part in the court's order Monday, as there was no announcement that any justice sat out. There had been questions about whether she would participate because she served as Obama's solicitor general when the law was passed. Kagan indicated in Senate testimony last year that she played no role in the administration's planning and handling of challenges to the law.
In asking the high court to pluck the health care cases from the appeals courts before decisions were rendered there, Cuccinelli said delay imposes a "crippling uncertainty" upon the states.
In the meantime, the federal and state governments have begun to put in place other parts of the law, including changes in payment rates under the Medicare system for older and disabled Americans and a provision allowing children up to age 26 to remain on the parents' health insurance policies.