Supreme Court Denies Health Care Opponents’ Fast Track Request

The Supreme Court has decided not to make history by bumping Virginia’s crusade against the new national health care law to the front of the legal line.

The ruling — denying a request from Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to “fast track” appeals of his state’s lawsuit calling the health care law’s insurance mandate unconstitutional — is not unusual, but it does mean opponents of the law will have to wait their turn before getting a chance to kill the law in the nation’s highest court.

Had Cuccinelli gotten his way, federal appeals of the lawsuit, which succeeded at the district level, would have gone straight to the Supreme Court. But as the AP reports, that was a long-shot bet:

Only rarely, in wartime or a constitutional crisis, does the court step into a legal fight before the issues are aired in appellate courts. Hearings already are scheduled in May and June in three appeals courts.

“There were no dissents noted,” SCOTUSblog notes of Monday’s ruling, “and there was no comment.”

Indications are that the newest Justice, Elena Kagan, did not recuse herself from the court order, despite calls by some opponents that she steer clear of health care issues due to her time in the Obama administration.

The Virginia suit will now proceed through the regular appeals process, with the next hearing set for May 10 at the federal court in Richmond.

The AP reports that even with the new ruling, the “case still could reach the high court in time for a decision by early summer 2012,” which would turn the case into a political circus in advance of the November presidential elections.

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