Monday, March 26, 2012

Day One: Preview

Today is the first day of the Supreme Court arguments on health reform. Please see the post below for my primer on the arguments. Here's the NY Times's summary of the arguments. Here's WaPo's summary of the arguments. Here's more from WaPo. Here's Politico's 5 things you should watch for.

Today is not going to be a very exciting day -- or that's my best guess, anyway. It's all on the Anti-Injunction Act, which says that you can't sue to stop collection of a tax before the tax is being collected. The argument is that, if the penalty for not buying health insurance is a tax, and that tax isn't being collected until 2015, lawsuits to stop the collection of the tax are premature. I think there's less than no chance that the Court is going to throw out these cases based on this kind of technicality. Indeed, the parties were not arguing this, which is why the Court had to assign an outside lawyer to argue this issue. So I don't expect any big news or reliable forecasts to come out of today's argument.

However, starting today, you will be hearing a lot of media about the health reform law. For example, the challenge of arguing four issues before the Supreme Court in three days is very difficult for the lawyers. Lawyers practice for weeks for one typical 30 minute argument. To be prepared for 6 hours over three days has to be a huge challenge. Meanwhile, people have been waiting in line for tickets all week-end. There will be no Twitter feed, since phones are not allowed in the courtroom. So far, it appears the law's supporters outnumber the critics demonstrating outside the Court. There's no question that the scene outside the Court mirrors the passion so many of us have about the health reform law, pro or con.

Tomorrow is the really big day, when the Court will hear arguments on the individual mandate (called the minimum coverage provision). I'll do my best to keep you updated. If you have questions, you can post them in the comments and I'll try my best to answer them. Jennifer

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