Day 1 of ObamaCare Hearings Done

Supreme Court will likely not delay a decision until 2015
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 26, 2012 1:20 PM CDT
Day 1 of ObamaCare Hearings Done
Protesters who identified themselves as being with the Tea Party Patriots demonstrate against the health care law outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, Monday, March 26, 2012.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

(Newser) – The first day of Supreme Court hearings on President Obama's controversial health care law is over, and it appears the justices will not be putting off a decision until 2015. If the justices deemed the penalty for not purchasing insurance to be a tax, then an obscure 1867 law would prevent them from hearing arguments on the matter until after that tax had been paid, and the individual mandate does not take effect until 2014. Though neither the Obama administration nor those challenging the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act thought the 1867 law applied, one appeals court disagreed, so arguments on the matter were ordered.

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During 90 minutes of active questioning today, none of the justices appeared to subscribe to the idea that the issue should be delayed, the AP notes; some skeptical justices actively pushed back against the idea that the penalty would be considered a tax. As arguments were heard inside, hundreds of supporters and opponents marched outside, the Washington Post reports. As promised, Rick Santorum was there, once again arguing that only he, not Mitt Romney, can repeal ObamaCare. Arguments on the individual mandate will be heard tomorrow. (Read more Obama Health Care Plan stories.)

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