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Supreme Court could rule on healthcare law early next year

Los Angeles Times, September 27, 2011

The Obama administration set the stage Monday for the Supreme Court to rule early next year on the constitutionality of the president's healthcare law by declining to press for a full appeal in a lower court. The Justice Department announced it will forgo an appeal to the full U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. Such an appeal to the 10-member court could have taken months and delayed a final decision from the high court until at least 2013. In a 2-1 ruling in August, a panel of the 11th Circuit became the first appellate court to declare unconstitutional the new requirement that all Americans have health insurance. Now, the administration can appeal directly to the Supreme Court and ask the justices to schedule the case to be heard and decided during the term that begins next week and ends in June. If the court follows that schedule, the justices will hand down a ruling on President Obama's signature legislation just as the election campaign moves into high gear.