DC appeals court fast-tracks review of health reform challenge

The court of appeals for the District of Columbia has decided to fast-track its review of a legal challenge to the healthcare reform law.

The challenge, filed by the conservative American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) and five individual plaintiffs, is one of several court challenges against the law's individual mandate. Federal District Court Judge Gladys Kessler dismissed the case last month.

The ACLJ had appealed that decision and claimed victory on Thursday.

"The appeals court clearly understands that this issue is of vital concern and deserves to be expedited," Jay Sekulow, the chief counsel of the ACLJ, said in a statement. "By putting our appeal on the fast track, the court is sending a strong signal that time is of the essence in determining the constitutionality of this law."

The appeals court has set a schedule with the first round of briefs to be filed in May; oral arguments before a three-judge panel will be scheduled in September.