Supreme Court orders rehearing in health care case

Supreme Court orders rehearing in health care case

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[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday remanded [order list, PDF] Liberty University v. Geithner [docket; JURIST report] to the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit [official website]. The court ordered the lower court to re-consider the case in light of National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius [JURIST report]. The Fourth Circuit previously dismissed [JURIST report] the suit as untimely. The suit’s original petition for certiorari [text, PDF] questioned whether the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) [HR 3590 text; JURIST backgrounder] could force the insurance mandate on both employers and citizens.

The court denied certiorari in Delling v. Idaho [docket; SCOTUSblog backgrounder] over the dissent of three justices. The case would have reviewed whether the ability to raise a defense of insanity in a criminal case is mandated by the Constitution. Justice Stephen Breyer, in dissent, argued that the issue needed to be decided in consideration of Idaho’s policies on the issue:

To illustrate with a very much simplified example: Idaho law would distinguish the following two cases. Case One: The defendant, due to insanity, believes that the victim is a wolf. He shoots and kills the victim. Case Two: The defendant, due to insanity, believes that a wolf, a supernatural figure, has ordered him to kill the victim. In Case One, the defendant does not know he has killed a human being, and his insanity negates a mental element necessary to commit the crime. In Case Two, the defendant has intentionally killed a victim whom he knows is a human being; he possesses the necessary mens rea. In both cases the defendant is unable, due to insanity, to appreciate the true quality of his act, and therefore unable to perceive that it is wrong. But in Idaho, the defendant in Case One could defend the charge by arguing that he lacked the mens rea, whereas the defendant in Case Two would not be able to raise a defense based on his mental illness. Much the same outcome seems likely to occur in other States that have modified the insanity defense in similar ways.

Breyer was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor.

The Court also released a per curiam summary judgment [opinion, PDF] in Nitro-Lift Technologies, LLC v. Howard [docket] that the Oklahoma Supreme Court had erred by not following the Federal Arbitration Act [text]. “By declaring the noncompetition agreements in two employment contracts null and void, rather than leaving that determination to the arbitrator in the first instance, the state court ignored a basic tenet of the Act’s substantive arbitration law.”