Supreme Court declines to hear health reform challenge

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Nov. 15, 2010

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The U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 8 rejected a preemptive challenge to the health system reform law, leaving the case, Baldwin v. Sebelius, for a lower appeals court to consider.

Plaintiffs Steve Baldwin, a former Republican member of the California Assembly, and the Pacific Justice Institute, a conservative California-based nonprofit legal defense organization specializing in religious freedom, sued Dept. of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius this year. They asked the high court to declare the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was enacted this year, unconstitutional.

The plaintiffs allege Congress lacks the authority under the U.S. Constitution's Commerce Clause to require individuals and employers to purchase health insurance. They sought expedited Supreme Court review before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard the case. The high court rarely hears cases before a lower court rules, but the plaintiffs believed there was an outside chance the court might take an early look at the case because of the health reform law's scope, said Peter Lepiscopo, counsel for the plaintiffs and managing partner at Lepiscopo & Morrow LLP in San Diego.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is reviewing the case. Lepiscopo said he thinks the case will be back to the Supreme Court by spring 2011.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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