The US Supreme Court on Tuesday denied requests to expedite consideration of a legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACT). The decision means that the court will not hear the challenge before the current term ends in June.
The petition to fast-track the case was brought by 19 states lead by California earlier this month and requested the high court hear the case on the last day scheduled for arguments this term, April 26, or add a special day to hear the case in May, a move the Supreme Court rarely does.
The decision from the Supreme Court denying that request does not make it clear when the case will be heard, but if they do decide to take the case, it will not be until next term begins in October and a decision not made until after the general election on November 3.
The case was initially brought by 18 states that challenged the constitutionality of the ACA’s individual mandate, which required all citizens to purchase health insurance or face the penalty of a a fee on their taxes. A panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans ruled 2-1 in December in their favor, ruling the ACA’s mandate unconstitutional.
The appeal from that Fifth Circuit ruling and the subsequent request to have the case fast-tracked for a hearing before the close of this Supreme Court term was backed by House Democrats, whose leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called the high court’s decision to not hear the case sooner a “disappointing decision” that “prolongs and worsens the uncertainty and fear that Republicans’ anti-health care agenda is inflicting on American families.”