WASHINGTON, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- U.S. Supreme Court justices have scheduled an unusual 5 1/2 hours of argument on the challenge to the Affordable Care Act healthcare reform.
The court announced Monday the case will be heard for three days in late March. That is the most time the court has spent hearing one case in several decades and most cases get no more than an hour of argument, the Los Angeles Times said.
The justices will hear arguments on only one of the lawsuits seeking to overturn the mandate that all individuals must have health insurance or pay a financial penalty. The court plans to deal with four questions, holding individual hearings on each, the Times said.
The first is whether the law can be challenged before the mandate has taken effect. The second, with 2 hours scheduled, is on the constitutionality of the mandate; the third is whether striking down the mandate would render the entire law invalid; and the fourth is whether federal laws on health insurance violate states rights.
The lawsuit to be heard was filed by the state of Florida, joined by 25 other states and the National Federation of Independent Businesses. A decision is expected by late June.