Health Care Reform Destined for Supreme Court?

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on February 02, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The tension surrounding health care reform since its inception has virtually guaranteed the law's eventual presence in the Supreme Court. With federal lawsuits popping up across the country, the time might be closer than once thought.

Since the bill came into law, judges in Lynchberg, Virginia and Detroit have ruled that health care reform law is constitutional. In more recent months, two courts have found differently. 

Expanding upon a ruling in Virginia that declared a portion of the law unconstitutional, Florida Federal District Court Judge Roger Vinson has struck down all of health care reform as violating the Commerce Clause.

While the decision in Virginia only struck down the most controversial part of the law--the portion requiring citizens to purchase health insurance or be penalized--Judge Roger Vinson felt that the Constitution required further action.

He found the insurance mandate so central to the health care reform bill and its purposes, that he concluded that the provision was not severable, further reports The Miami Herald. His reasoning meant that he couldn't uphold some parts of the law while striking down the controversial provision.

With four different decisions impacting a multitude of states, health care reform may seem up in the air. When you add three potential appellate court stops before a date with the Supreme Court--the 4th, 6th and 11th Circuits--the confusion multiplies.

Though it might take some time, the Supreme Court almost always hears cases involving pressing matters when the appellate courts are not in agreement. However, there is the off chance that the appellate courts will be bypassed. The Supreme Court has the option to expedite an appeal and move a case directly from a District Court to its chambers. Luckily, Florida Senator Bill Nelson has already started the campaign to do so.

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