KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Supreme Court Opens New Term; Health Law Challenge Tops Agenda

Although action related to the lawsuits challenging the health law have not yet officially made it on to the high court's docket, it is generally accepted that this question will likely be decided this term.

Los Angeles Times: Supreme Court To Open Crucial Term
The cases coming before the court "address some of the central issues facing the country," said former Solicitor General Walter Dellinger. The clashes over health care and immigration "are not mere lawyers' issues, but fundamental questions about how the country is governed" (Savage, 10/2).

NPR: In New Term, Supreme Court To Tackle Divisive Issues
The constitutional challenge to President Obama's health care overhaul almost certainly will be decided this term, but at this point it has not formally made it onto the docket. Also making their way to the court are cases involving almost every hot-button issue in America: immigration; affirmative action; gay marriage; and the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal law barring federal recognition of gay marriage even in states where it is legal (Totenberg, 10/3).

Reuters: Obama's Health Care Law Tops New U.S. High Court Term
President Barack Obama's sweeping health care overhaul will top the agenda in the new U.S. Supreme Court term that opens on Monday and could be the most momentous in decades. Returning from its three-month recess, the nation's highest court will confront legal challenges seeking to strike down Obama's signature domestic policy achievement and a host of other charged issues in its 2011-12 term (Vicini, 10/2).

The Associated Press: Health Care Law Looms Over New Supreme Court Term
The nine justices of the Supreme Court, who serve without seeking election, soon will have to decide whether to insert themselves into the center of the presidential campaign next year. The high court was beginning its new term Monday, and President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, which affects almost everyone in the country, is squarely in its sights (Sherman, 10/3).

Fox: Kagan, Thomas, Targeted In Hopes Of Swaying Supreme Court's Health Care Ruling
The Supreme Court hasn't even agreed yet to take the case questioning the constitutionality of the individual mandate — the centerpiece of President Obama's health care law — but already arguments are lined up to remove justices from trying to weigh in on deliberations. Justice Elena Kagan's role in the Obama administration as it was formulating the legal defense for the health care law disqualifies her from participating in the decision, say groups who call the former solicitor general incapable of being objective. Kagan says she was not involved in developing the legal strategy of the Affordable Care Act, but opponents of the law have requested records of the administration's deliberation process to see who participated (10/2).

In related news, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli plans to ask the Supreme Court if his state's challenge to to the health law, which is based on a state law, could also be considered.

Politico: Cuccinelli Wants To Go To The Supreme Court, Too
Two days after the federal government asked the Supreme Court to take up a health care reform lawsuit brought by 26 states, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli plans to ask the court to decide whether his state, too, can challenge the law. The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this month said the commonwealth doesn't have a right to challenge the federal law. Cuccinelli is also asking the court to examine the constitutionality question. Both Virginia and the 26 states are challenging whether Congress has a right to impose a mandate that nearly all Americans can buy insurance. But Virginia's suit is based on a state law, passed just as President Barack Obama's legislation was being signed into law, that bans an insurance mandate in the state (Haberkorn, 9/30).

Reuters: Virginia to Take Health Care Suit to Supreme Court
The state of Virginia plans to ask the Supreme Court to overturn a recent decision in its challenge to the federal health care reform law, its attorney general said on Friday. The announcement comes after President Barack Obama on Wednesday asked the country's highest court to rule on the law he championed in appealing a decision made in a lawsuit filed by 26 states and a major business group (9/30).

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