News outlets report on the key issues, dynamics and personalities that will be in play when the Supreme Court takes up the health law.
Politico: On Health Care, Supreme Court's Final Word May Not Be Final
In two weeks, the U.S. Supreme Court takes up the case that could lead to the biggest "I told you so" of 2012. The challenge to President Barack Obama's health care reform law will result in the court either upholding it — giving bragging rights to Obama and congressional Democrats — or finding major pieces of it unconstitutional, setting off a political earthquake that would vindicate Republicans and conservative groups (Haberkorn, 3/11).
Politico: Health Care Reform Issues Go Beyond Mandate
If the court decides the mandate is unconstitutional, it will have to figure out what happens to the rest of the health care law, which also contains insurance market and health care delivery system reforms as well as changes to Medicare and Medicaid (Millman, 3/11).
The New York Times: Health Care Act Offers Roberts A Signature Case
On the one hand, he views himself as a steward of the court’s prestige and authority, and he has called for incremental decisions from large majorities rather than broad but sharply divided rulings. ... At the same time, Chief Justice Roberts has embraced an array of assertive judicial projects that have interpreted the Constitution in ways that have fundamentally reshaped American law (Liptak, 3/11).
The Associated Press: Health Care Lawyer Clement As High Court Regular
Paul Clement used to argue for the federal government's power until he started arguing against it. ... Clement is playing a key role in three politically charged Supreme Court cases in which Republican-led states object to Obama administration policies or federal laws on health care, immigration and redrawing political boundaries. In the biggest of those, the 45-year-old law school acquaintance of President Barack Obama will be trying to sink Obama's health care overhaul (Sherman, 3/12).
The Washington Post: Esteemed Lawyer Paul Clement's Next Challenge Is Arguing Against Health-Care Law
[W]hen Clement, a Republican and former U.S. solicitor general, is on his game, he is a grandmaster, conservative and liberal lawyers agree. ... "You want him; he is the best advocate of his generation,"says an old boss, another former solicitor general and Democratic nemesis, Kenneth W. Starr (Leahy, 3/11).
The Associated Press: Verrilli: Point Man In Looming Health Care Battle
In 16 appearances before the Supreme Court, Donald Verrilli has advocated for the rights of death row inmates and has successfully argued fine points of telecommunications law in cases with billions of dollars in the balance. Now as the Obama administration's solicitor general, Verrilli faces what for any lawyer would be the challenge of a lifetime: persuading at least five Supreme Court justices to uphold the president's overhaul of the nation's health care system (Yost, 3/12).
Politico: Backup Plans If Individual Mandate Is Struck Down
If the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down health reform's individual mandate and leaves the rest of the law in place — what happens next? The backup plan could be automatic enrollment in your employer's health insurance, a lot like the way you get signed up for the 401(k) plan. If Congress decides to act to repair that hole in the Affordable Care Act — and that's a big if — an auto-enrollment requirement is the option that's getting the most attention from health policy experts (Norman, 3/11).
The Associated Press: Obama's Health Care Law: A Trek, Not A Sprint
It took only a year to set up Medicare. But if President Barack Obama's health care law survives Supreme Court scrutiny, it will be nearly a decade before all its major pieces are in place. And that means even if Obama is re-elected, he won't be in office to oversee completion of his signature domestic policy accomplishment, assuming Republicans don't succeed in repealing it (Alonso-Zaldivar, 3/12).