U.S. Supreme Court justices kicked off the first day of oral arguments on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) with tough questions about why they should or should not put off hearing challenges till after the law has taken effect.
We’ve embedded the PDF of the transcript for Case Number 11-393 here, so that you can read it for yourself and come to your own conclusions about how the day went.
If you don’t see the PPACA transcript in a window above this line, please click here to read the transcript. Scroll down to the bottom of this article to see the link to the audio recording of the oral arguments.
For up-to-the-minute coverage of the Supreme Court oral arguments on PPACA, visit www.lifehealthpro.com/PPACA
Robert Long, a lawyer representing “friends of the court,” tried to make the case that the Tax Injunction Act forbids the federal courts from hearing challenges to new taxes — including the penalties individuals might have to pay if they failed to buy the minimum level of health coverage required by PPACA — until the taxes have taken effect.
Donald Verrilli Jr., the solicitor general for the Obama administration, and Greg Katsas, who represented the National Federation for Independent Business, Nashville, Tenn., and the 26 states that are trying to overturn PPACA, argued that the federal courts already have jurisdiction over the constitutionality of the individual coverage mandate penalty.
Katsas said the Supreme Court can rule on the challenge because PPACA opponents are separating the challenge of the coverage ownership requirement from the penalty provision.
Chief Justice John Roberts questioned that line of reasoning.