KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Tricky Issues Surround Supreme Court’s Health Law Review

Should the arguments heard by the high court regarding the health law be televised on C-SPAN? And should certain justices step away from the case? These are among the key questions that continue to buzz around the health law's day in court.

The New York Times: Supreme Court TV? Nice Idea, But Still Not Likely
A couple of weeks ago, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a constitutional challenge to President Obama's health care law. The case is a once-in-a-generation blockbuster, and the court underscored its importance by scheduling five and a half hours of oral arguments, the most in any case since 1966. The day after the announcement, Brian P. Lamb, the chairman of C-Span, wrote to Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. with a modest request. "We believe the public interest is best served by live television coverage of this particular oral argument," Mr. Lamb said. The request is, of course, doomed. Yet it is hard to say why (Liptak, 11/28).

CNN: Should Three Key Supreme Court Justices Bow Out Of Health Care Ruling?
The dinner was billed as a "Celebration of Service." The honorees: Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. The hosts: the Federalist Society, an influential conservative legal group whose membership includes judges, lawmakers and government officials. Little news was made at the society's recent three-day convention, but the appearance of perhaps the Supreme Court's most right-leaning members was buzzworthy and just the latest chapter in what can be read as both drama and farce: the future of health care reform in the U.S. and the sideline war over who will be on hand to decide it. The high-stakes legal fight will be argued by the nine-member bench in March, with a ruling expected by June. And if advocates on both sides of the debate have their way, perhaps only seven, even six justices could decide what shapes up to be the biggest constitutional fight in a decade. … And from the right: similar demands of Justice Elena Kagan. As a top member of President Obama's Justice Department last year, conservatives allege, she may have been more involved than once believed in preparing legal strategy for the health care appeals just before she was chosen for the high court. None of the justices appear ready to step aside, something many legal analysts say is both proper and expected (Mears, 11/29).

CQ HealthBeat: High Court Mum On Virginia Request In Health Care Overhaul Challenge
The U.S. Supreme Court issued an order list Monday morning, and what was most notable was what wasn't on it: A decision by the high court on whether to hear arguments on the commonwealth of Virginia's challenge to the health care overhaul. The justices met in conference Nov. 22 and Virginia v. Sebelius was on its list of petitions to consider. In Monday's order list, the court neither granted nor denied a writ of certiorari. In that case, filed by Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals sent the matter back to the district court. The appeals judges said the commonwealth lacked the standing to sue over the health care law (11/28).

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