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With three days committed to testimony on the much-debated health-care reform bill, the justices will decide whether to hear the case now, or wait until 2015 when the regulations would be in effect. The first day’s arguments centered on whether or not the individual mandate penalty fee, which would “penalize” – or charge a fee of -- those who do not have health-care coverage, is actually a tax.
A topic of the hearing was the Anti-Injunction Act, a law dating back to 1867, as it says any lawsuit that would “seem to interrupt the collection of federal tax revenues,” cannot be ruled on, according to the SCOTUS blog. Karen Harned, executive director of the National Federation of Independent Business’ Small Business Legal Center, said the group was glad to see the justices questioning the Anti Injunction Act.
“It was a great day for small businesses. Bottom line is that there was healthy skepticism on the part of most, if not all, of the justices on whether or not the Anti Injunction Act warrants challenge at this time,” Harned said in a statement. “We feel good about our chances of the court going to the merits of whether or not the individual mandate is constitutional. We’re looking forward to arguments tomorrow.”
A decision in the case is expected by the end of June.