First, the basic facts from Reuters:
The Supreme Court agreed on Monday to decide the fate of President Barack Obama’s healthcare law, with an election-year ruling due by July on the healthcare system’s biggest overhaul in nearly 50 years. … The justices in a brief order agreed to hear the appeals. At the heart of the legal battle is whether the Congress overstepped its powers by requiring that all Americans buy health insurance by 2014 or pay a penalty, a provision known as the individual mandate.
Phil Klein of the Washington Examiner thinks opponents got a break:
This is great news for opponents of Obamacare, because the case, which comes out of the 11th Circuit of Appeals, is the best briefed and best argued of all of the various legal challenges to the health care law. It’s the case that opponents of the law won at both the district court and appellate level. Former solicitor general Paul Clement and Michael Carvin of Jones Day (who also has lots of experience before the Supreme Court) did a masterful job arguing the case before the 11th circuit. Georgetown Law Professor and constitutional law whiz Randy Barnett is also an advisor to the NFIB on the suit.
Some more details from SCOTUSblog:
Here, in summary, is what the Court’s orders on Monday did:
* Granted, the issue of “severability” of the insurance mandate from the other provisions of the law, if the mandate is nullified (the only question in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius [docket 11-393] and question 3 inFlorida, et al., v. Health & Human Services Department [11-400]), cases consolidated for 90 minutes of oral argument.
* Granted, the constitutionality of the insurance mandate (question 1 in the government case, Health & Human Services Department v. Florida, et al.), two hours of oral argument.
* Parties directed to brief and argue whether the lawsuit brought by the states to the insurance mandate is barred by the Anti-Injunction Act (an added question in the government case, 11-398); one hour of oral argument. (That order appeared to be limited to whether that Act only bars states from challenging the mandate; the question of whether that Act bars private entities from challenging the mandate was raised in the Liberty University case, and the Court did not grant that petition.)
* Granted, the constitutionality of the Medicaid expansion (question 1 in theFlorida, et al., case, 11-400, one hour of oral argument.