Next week, the drama begins — the Supreme Court will hold what promises to be the biggest (an impressive 6 hours) and most important series of oral arguments of the decade, if not the century — to decide the future of Obama’s health care reform, PPACA. The government will be primarily represented by Solicitor General Don Verilli; arguing most of the issues opposing PPACA will be Paul Clement, former Solicitor General under George W. Bush. Up for discussion are four key issues surrounding the constitutionality of PPACA, to be argued over the course of 3 days:
(1) Whether the PPACA lawsuits are premature, due to the Anti-Injunction Act (90 minutes);
(2) Whether PPACA’s individual mandate is constitutional (2 hours);
(3) Whether any unconstitutional portions of PPACA can be severed from the remainder of the Act or whether the entire Act must be stricken if one part is unconstitutional (90 minutes); and
(4) Whether PPACA’s Medicaid expansion (states must expand Medicaid coverage to continue receiving federal Medicaid funds) is constitutional (1 hour).
As the excitement builds, so does the pre-argument coverage. Among recent articles are pieces about Solicitor General Don Verilli (NPR), former Solicitor General Paul Clement (Washington Post), what will happen if PPACA is unconstitutional (Washington Post), and how specific Justices might vote (New York Times).
Notably, there will be no television coverage of the arguments or real-time audio available. In a recent announcement, the Court has promised that audio recordings and rough transcripts will be made available later the same day. We will be updating here daily to stay on top of the action. You can read about the issue of press coverage in the LA Times op ed piece by noted constitutional scholars Erwin Chemerinsky and Eric J. Segall.