ScotusBlog is reporting that the U.S. Supreme Court, without any dissents noted, has passed on the application of the State of Virginia for expedited review of the case now on appeal to the 4th Circuit. The District Court in Virginia had ruled the health care mandate unconstitutional.
I very much would have liked the Supreme Court to take the case because politically a relatively prompt resolution is important, but from a legal and case management perspectives, I understand why the high court might want to wait.
First, the Virginia case is not the only case, and not even the case with the most states involved. To take one case, while others are pending elsewhere, might not make sense.
Second, while there has been a split of opinion at the trial court level, no appeals court has yet ruled. If the appeals courts resolve the issue uniformly (unlikely in my view), the Supreme Court may not need to get involved.
Third, the mandate is not yet in effect, and will not take effect until 2014, so there is time for the Supreme Court to see how things play out.
Fourth, depending upon what happens in the political sphere, the mandate may become moot.
Again, I wish the Court had taken the case and expedited appeals of other pending cases. I view this decision to pass on the case as the Supreme Court not wanting to preempt the political process, unless and until the issue cannot be avoided constitutionally.
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