Supreme Court considers expedited review of healthcare law challenges

The Supreme Court could decide as early as Friday whether to expedite a review of challenges to Democrats' healthcare reform law, though legal experts expect the high court will decline to get involved for now.

Two federal judges have ruled the law's individual mandate is unconstitutional while several others have upheld it. The Obama administration has argued that appeals courts should have their say first — arguments have been scheduled in no fewer than four appeals courts over the next five months — while critics say the differing opinions to date are creating legal uncertainty and should be resolved as quickly as possible.

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The petition for expedited review was brought by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who filed a legal challenge the very day the law was enacted.

"Given the importance of the issues at stake to the States and to the economy as a whole, this Court should grant certiorari to resolve a matter of imperative public importance," Cuccinelli argued in his Feb. 8 motion to skip the appeals process.

In any event, the justices are "exceedingly unlikely" to announce their decision Friday, according to a legal blog that closely tracks all legal challenges to the law, "especially since neither side has sought an expedited consideration of the petition."

"It is also possible that the Court does not actually reach a decision on the petition today — that it defers its judgement and 're-lists' Virginia v. Sebelius for a subsequent conference," the blog continues.

The justices' decision to be announced about 10 a.m. Monday, when the Supreme Court released its order list.