Monday, April 25, 2011


Was there ever even the slightest chance that this would turn out another way?

The Supreme Court rejected a call Monday from Virginia's attorney general to depart from its usual practice and put review of the health care law on a fast track. Instead, judicial review of President Barack Obama's signature legislation will continue in federal appeals courts.

The justices turned down a request by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a leading opponent of the law, to resolve questions about its constitutionality quickly. The Obama administration opposed Cuccinelli's plea.

Only rarely, in wartime or a constitutional crisis, does the court step into a legal fight before the issues are aired in appellate courts. Hearings already are scheduled in May and June in three appeals courts.

The case still could reach the high court in time for a decision by early summer 2012....

Obviously this would have been a break with precedent, but the deciding factor here is that the Roberts GOP majority isn't going to make a decision before November 2012 that depletes the base's motivation to vote Republican. What would be the point of that, given the fact that the law doesn't fully go into effect until 2014, and the fact that it doesn't seem to be motivating Democratic voters very much (and certainly not swing voters0?

I think we can guess when the Supremes will rule on the health care law: early 2013. If Obama wins reelection, they'll trip him right out of the starting gate by overturning the law shortly after his second term begins. Otherwise, they'll let Congress go after it, and give the whole effort the constitutional stamp of approval. But they're certainly not going to deprive the party of a hot-button issue that could help make up for a less-than-inspiring presidential nominee.

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