Today, 26 states and the National Federation of Independent Business filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari before the United States Supreme Court. A “petition for writ of cert” is simply a request by the parties that the Supreme Court hear the case. This is an appeal from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals opinion, filed August 12, holding that Obamacare’s individual mandate is unconstitutional.
If you recall, Judge Vinson of the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Florida declared the entire law to be unconstitutional. On appeal to the 11th Circuit, that court upheld all parts of the law except the individual mandate. Consequently, the states are appealing to the Supreme Court and requesting that Judge Vinson’s decision be reinstated.
What is interesting here is that the states “beat the administration to the punch”. The administration had until November 12 to file its petition for writ of cert, and most expected it to consume every second of that in the hopes of delaying any consideration, and ruling into 2013. After all, the more of Obamacare that gets implemented, the harder it is to unwind it should the law be found to be unconstitutional.
The other point of interest is that many, if not most lawyers believe it is far better to be the one presenting the claim (the appellant) than the one defending against the claim (the appellee). If you are presenting the claim, you file your initial appellant’s brief, you opponent files the appellee’s brief, and then the appellant may file a reply brief contesting points made by the appellee. This is somewhat akin to two bites at the apple.
The government could have been in this position, but, delay apparently was far more important.
I wonder if they realized that the states had appealable issues as well?
Finally, it should be noted that the Supreme Court does not have to accept the case, and can do so by simply denying the petition for writ of cert.
Yesterday afternoon, the administration filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari before the United States Supreme Court seeking review of that portion of the 11th Circuit opinion finding Obamacare unconstitutional. Given this, it is highly unlikely that the Supreme Court would refuse to hear the case.