Healthcare Law Battle Shifts To Appellate Courts.

The New York Times (5/9, A14, Sack) reports, “A five-week flurry of federal appellate hearings on the constitutionality of the Obama health care law kicks off Tuesday in Richmond, Va., beginning the second round of a race to the Supreme Court among a multitude of litigants eager to strike down the president’s signature domestic achievement.”
CQ Today (5/6, Norman, Subscription Publication) noted that on Tuesday, the US Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit “will hear two cases that challenge the constitutionality of the law’s requirement that all Americans have health insurance.” The cases, one brought by Virginia and the other by Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA, “are the first to advance from federal district courts to the appeals level, possibly the last stop before the Supreme Court.” Experts predict the high court will “likely accept one or both suits.” Meanwhile, other “strong candidates among the 20-plus suits challenging the law are one filed by 26 states, scheduled for oral arguments in June, and another by a conservative law center in Michigan.”
Top Lawyer To Represent Obama Administration At First Health-Reform Challenge Hearing. The Hill (5/9, Pecquet) “Healthwatch” blog reports that the “government’s top lawyer will handle the first appeals court arguments on the constitutionality of the healthcare reform law — a sign of how seriously the Administration takes lower court proceedings in a case with huge ramifications not only for the healthcare system, but for the 2012 election.” On Tuesday when the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals takes up the two challenges, “Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal will defend the law’s individual mandate.” Court watchers “say it’s highly unusual for the government’s highest ranking lawyer to be arguing a case before it reaches the Supreme Court.”

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