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Health Care Appeal Gets Expedited Review

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TALLAHASSEE (CBS4) – The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta has agreed with a request from Attorney General Pam Bondi to expedite the federal government’s appeal of Florida U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson’s ruling that invalidated the entire health care reform act.

The expedited appeal means the federal government must file its first set of court papers by April 4. The state of Florida, which is joined by 26 other states, has until May 4 to file its first court documents. Then, the federal government will file additional papers by May 18.

But, Bondi’s request that the appeal be heard in an en banc hearing has not been decided. An en banc hearing means the appeal will be heard before all ten judges on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, instead of the typical three judge panel that first hears a case.

Regardless of what happens in front of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, the legal wrangling over the health care law will not stop until it reaches the United States Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court will have to eventually decide whether or not health care is considered interstate commerce. If it is, then Congress can regulate it without problem and the law stands. If the Court says it’s not and that Congress overstepped its bounds by regulating something not contained in the Commerce Clause, then the law would be invalidated.

Justices on the Supreme Court haven’t given much away to how they might rule. But, based on previous decisions relating to Congress’ interstate commerce power, the Court would likely side with the federal government.

The decision will likely come down to one or two justices who will decide the issue in what will likely be a 5-4 ruling either way.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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