Obama health law foes want Supreme Court action

© AFP/Jim Watson

AFP/Activist Post

WASHINGTON (AFP) – A group of 28 Republican governors urged President Barack Obama Tuesday to support an expedited US Supreme Court ruling over the constitutionality of his signature health care overhaul.

The letter comes a week after a federal judge in Florida became the second to rule that the law’s individual mandate was unconstitutional because it exceeds Congress’s regulatory powers by requiring Americans to either purchase health insurance by 2014 or pay a fine.

Two other federal judges have struck down challenges by critics.

The law, one of Obama’s key domestic achievements, has been fiercely challenged across the United States since Congress passed it last year.

Legal experts believe the measure — which extends coverage to some 32 million uninsured Americans — will be debated all the way to the Supreme Court.

In their letter, the governors argued the case will eventually reach the high court anyway, so it should just happen now.

They asked Obama to have the Justice Department support a fast-track appeal of the Virginia and Florida lawsuits that challenge the law, known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, in order to obtain a Supreme Court decision “as soon as possible.”

“There is little doubt that the cases will ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court,” the governors wrote.

“Given the daunting and costly financial and regulatory burdens that our states and the private sector will face in implementing PPACA over the coming years, particularly during this unprecedented budgetary time, public interest requires expediting a final resolution of the litigation to give certainty as soon as possible.”

Virginia’s attorney general, meanwhile, took the unusual step of filing a request directly with the Supreme Court, asking it to bypass the appeals courts and review the federal statute now.

The Justice Department has already indicated it will oppose the move.

And in remarks last week, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsburg was direct about her view in favor of “the ordinary route,” saying she doubted the high court would be moving in any hurry.

“The Court itself is a reactive institution. We don’t decide ‘we better get this or that case sooner rather than later,'” she said at the time.

After the normal appeals course, “We have a range of views before us and can make a better informed decision,” she added.

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