Dem senator asks to fast-track healthcare lawsuits to Supreme Court

A Democratic senator is asking his colleagues to back a resolution calling for the Supreme Court to decide quickly on the constitutionality of the healthcare reform act.

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) is raising the resolution after a federal judge in his home state ruled on Monday that the entire reform law is unconstitutional. Another judge struck down the law’s requirement for individuals to purchase health insurance, while two judges have upheld the individual mandate.

With those cases now headed for appellate court, Nelson wants the Supreme Court to "immediately" decide on the reform law.

“The vote to repeal healthcare is largely symbolic because the Supreme Court is going to have to be the one to decide this matter,” Nelson said.  “We ought to do the right thing and ask the high court to rule quickly so we don’t keep arguing over this for the next several years.”

In light of the separate rulings, there has been confusion about whether implementation should continue until the Supreme Court decides on the competing court challenges. Some states on the 26-state lawsuit in Florida have said they will halt implementation efforts in light of the most recent ruling.

Leading Republican lawmakers have been calling for an expedited Supreme Court hearing, but the Obama administration so far has seemed content to let the legal challenges play out through the appeals process. If the healthcare lawsuits aren’t fast-tracked, the Supreme Court likely wouldn’t decide on the reform law’s constitutionality until 2012 or later.