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Supreme Court to hear Affordable Care Act challenges

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In what’s expected to be a historic constitutional test over how much power the federal government has to require individual mandates for states, the Supreme Court of the United States will consider the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010.

The nation’s high court released its orders Monday following a private conference Nov. 10, indicating it would take questions from three of the five health care appeals that have been filed nationwide in the past 18 months. The justices granted certiorari in National Federation of Independent Business., et al. v. Kathleen Sebelius, No. 11-393; Department of Health and Human Services, et al. v. Florida, et al., No. 11-398; and Florida, et al. v. Department of Health and Human Services, et al., No. 11-400.

The appeals will likely be heard in March, with a decision expected by the end of the court's current term in June – just before the Republican and Democratic national conventions. No dates are set for arguments and the court has set aside  5 ½ hours to hear the parties’ arguments.

One of the main questions before the justices is the constitutionality of the individual insurance mandate, the foundation of the health care reform passed in 2010, and whether Congress exceeded its regulatory power on interstate commerce in requiring that coverage. That question comes from the HHS v. Florida case. Indiana and 25 other states joined Florida as parties in that case earlier this year.

A Florida federal court judge struck down the entire law as unconstitutional and the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed in part, finding that only the individual mandate portion of the law is unconstitutional. That decision was opposite of what the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals found in a separate challenge, and the 4th Circuit had previously determined it couldn’t rule on the constitutionality of the individual mandate until it went into effect in 2014. The SCOTUS declined to take those two cases.

The court will examine the issue of “severability” of the insurance mandate from the law’s other provisions, a question brought up in both the Florida v. Department of Health and Human Services and NFIB v. Sebelius cases. Those two cases are consolidated for 90 minutes of oral argument.

Parties are also directed to brief and argue whether the lawsuit initiated by the states involving the insurance mandate is barred by the Anti-Injunction Act. One hour is devoted to that issue relating only to state application, but not how private entities such as businesses might challenge the individual mandate.
 

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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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