It's officially official! The Supreme Court has agreed to take on the case of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare — it's not a naughty word unless you let it be! — near the end of its current session, as per the White House's request.
The Court will hold two hours of argument on the constitutionality of the requirement that virtually every American obtain health insurance by 2014, 90 minutes on whether some or all of the overall law must fail if the mandate is struck down, one hour on whether the Anti-Injunction Act bars some or all of the challenges to the insurance mandate, and one hour on the constitutionality of the expansion of the Medicaid program for the poor and disabled. The Court chose those issues from appeals by the federal government, by 26 states, and by a business trade group. It opted not to review the challenges to new health care coverage requirements for public and private employers. It left untouched petitions by a conservative advocacy group, the Thomas More Law Center, and three of its members, and by Liberty University and two of its employees.
The total of 5.5 hours allotted for oral arguments will be a modern record.
SCOTUS watchers, for whom this whole thing is pure, perfect pornography, will continue spending the next few months poring through thousands of pages of legal opinions to predict the final decision. "Look at what Scalia scribbled in the margins of this Commerce Clause-related decision in 1997! This changes everything!!!" and so on. But maybe it's as simple as this: There are five Republicans on the bench so they will rule against the whole thing.
What they should really do is speed it up to have it ready by the Super Bowl, so presumed swing vote Anthony Kennedy can come onto the field at halftime and announce his decision, while Mick Jagger grinds up against his butt or whatever.
[Image via AP]