U.S. Supreme Court begins hearings on the Affordable Care Act

Mar 24, 2012
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The U.S. Supreme Court Building is seen in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 25. Credit: J. Scott Applewhite/AP

KPCC’s Kitty Felde will be talking to us live from the courthouse to talk about today’s Supreme Court consideration of the Affordable Care Act. Amicus curiae attorney Robert A. Long will advise the court on the Anti-Injunction Act, which may bar the court from making a constitutionality ruling at this time. Arguments will be made for both sides of controversial and complicated case as they dissect whether the penalty for not acquiring health care under the act is equivalent to a tax.

Tuesday, the Court will consider the constitutionality of Congress enacting the individual insurance mandate. The argument for the act says that Congress is able to do so under the Commerce Clause, which allows them to regulate commerce among states.

Wednesday, the Court will consider “severability” of individual mandate to figure out whether the rest of the law can stand without it. Additionally, they will hear the arguments over the issue of Medicaid expansion and including additional coverage for lower-income people. The line between Federal authority and State government cooperation is sure to be tested in this battle over benefits.

What are the biggest drawbacks to passing the Affordable Care Act and how do they compare to the benefits?


Kitty Felde, KPCC’s Washington D.C. correspondent, covering the SCOTUS hearings on the Affordable Care Act

John Eastman, Professor of Law & Community Service and Founding Director of the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence and former Dean at Chapman University School of Law

David Cole, Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center; author of six books including “Less Safe, Less Free: Why America Is Losing the War on Terror” (New Press 2007)

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