Las Vegas —Today [November 14], the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will review the 26 states’ legal challenge to the healthcare legislation signed into law by President Obama in March 2010. The Supreme Court granted the states, the federal government, and the Federation of Independent Businesses’ three separate petitions for writ of certiorari of the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals decision, which stuck down as unconstitutional, the provision of legislation known as the individual mandate. The individual mandate requires allU.S. citizens and residents to purchase health insurance from a private company or face government-imposed penalties enforced by the internal revenue service.
The 11th Circuit decided that the remaining provisions of the law could remain. The U.S. District Court inFloridahad previously held that the entire law could not stand without the unconstitutional individual mandate and declared the entire law unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court will now take up the issues of whether the individual mandate is constitutional and whether the entire law is unconstitutional if the individual mandate is unlawful. Mark Hutchison, lead special counsel for the State ofNevadain the litigation stated, “We are pleased that the highest court in the country will make a final decision about the constitutional fate of the healthcare legislation. The states are confident that the U.S. Supreme Court will determine that the law is unconstitutional.”
“Never before in our nation’s history has the federal government required its citizens to purchase a product or service as a condition of citizenship in this country,” continued Hutchison. “This case is of high importance to all Nevadans, because if the federal government can require us to purchase health insurance, then they can require us to purchase anything they choose.”
The parties’ initial written briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court are due 45 days from today— December 29th. Oral arguments are expected to be scheduled before the U.S. Supreme Court sometime in March. The Supreme Court will issue a decision in the case before its term expires at the end of June 2012.
First appointed by Governor Jim Gibbons, and then re-affirmed by Brian Sandoval, Mark Hutchison, of Hutchison & Steffen, was named to serve as lead special counsel for the State ofNevadafollowing the Attorney General’s refusal to represent the state in the federal litigation. All of Hutchison’s work on the case has been pro-bono to the state ofNevada.
The U.S. Eleventh Circuit, the federal appeals court in Atlanta, which considered an appeal of the U.S. District Court in Florida that struck down as unconstitutional the entire Patient Protect and Affordable Care Act — often referred to as Obamacare — has upheld the District Court’s decision, ruling that provisions of the law mandating that individuals purchase health insurance are unconstitutional.
The lawsuit was originally filed in federal court in the Northern District of Florida on Mar. 23, 2010. Nevadajoined the lawsuit on May 14, 2010. The state of Virginiafiled a separate lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Virginiaon Mar. 23, 2010. Today, there are 26 states challenging the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act—an unprecedented event. On Jan. 31, 2011, District Court Judge Roger Vinson ruled in the states’ favor and declared the federal health care law unconstitutional, and now the U.S. District Court of Appeals has also struck down the law on the same grounds.