SCOTUS rejects fast-tracking ObamaCare cases

VA Attorney General Ken Cucinelli had asked the US Supreme Court to consolidate and fast-track the various state lawsuits against ObamaCare. Today, SCOTUS kept those cases separate and in the slower appeals court lane.

The Supreme Court rejected a call Monday from Virginia's attorney general to depart from its usual practice and put review of the health care law on a fast track. Instead, judicial review of President Barack Obama's signature legislation will continue in federal appeals courts.

The justices turned down a request by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a leading opponent of the law, to resolve questions about its constitutionality quickly. The Obama administration opposed Cuccinelli's plea.

Only rarely, in wartime or a constitutional crisis, does the court step into a legal fight before the issues are aired in appellate courts. Hearings already are scheduled in May and June in three appeals courts.

The case still could reach the high court in time for a decision by early summer 2012.

Justice Elena Kagan apparently didn't recuse herself from this decision, an indication that she will also take part in the case once it reaches the high court. SCOTUS is still likely to hear and rule on the case before the 2012 election.  The fate of ObamaCare, and the government's asserted power to require Americans to purchase a product or pay a fine, still rest in the hands of the mercurial Justice Anthony Kennedy.