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DOJ Advises Supreme Court There’s No Rush on Review of Health Care Law

Posted Mar 15, 2011 9:53 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The Obama administration has advised the U.S. Supreme Court there is no need to be hasty in reviewing the new health care law.

The state of Virginia has asked the Supreme Court to accept an expedited review of the constitutionality of the law’s requirement for individuals to buy health insurance. But in a brief filed Monday evening, the U.S. Justice Department says there is no need for the high court to step in before a decision is issued by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals based in Richmond, Va. SCOTUSblog and the Washington Post blog Virginia Politics have the story.

The brief (PDF posted by SCOTUSblog) says that even if the Supreme Court grants review, it likely won’t be able to hear the case before the term beginning next fall. If the court waits for the 4th Circuit decision, it may still be able to hear the case next term, the brief says. Given the likelihood of a quick hearing in the 4th Circuit, “there is no basis for short-circuiting the normal course of appellate review,” the brief says.

The Justice Department also argues the case is “a poor vehicle” to address constitutional issues because the state of Virginia may not have standing to challenge the law. The issue could prevent a ruling on the merits, according to the brief.

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