April 5th, 2012
11:08 AM ET

Justice Department faces deadline from Texas judges

The Justice Department has until 1 p.m. ET Thursday to answer fundamental constitutional questions dealing with the health care law championed by President Barack Obama in an escalating political battle that has embroiled all three branches of government.

Administration officials said Wednesday they were deciding how to respond to an order from a three-judge appeals panel that is hearing a challenge to the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

Department lawyers were told by the judges to explain whether federal courts could intervene and strike down congressional laws as unconstitutional. Such a power has been guaranteed since the Supreme Court's landmark 1803 ruling in Marbury v. Madison.

The appellate panel's order came after one of the three judges appeared to be deeply concerned by the president's comments this week, in which Obama challenged the Supreme Court not to take what he called an "unprecedented" step of overturning the health care law.

The White House tried to defuse the ideological firestorm Wednesday, saying the president's words were misunderstood.

The three judges are Republican appointees from the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, meeting in Houston. They were hearing a challenge to the health care law from physician-owned hospitals, despite the fact the Supreme Court is deciding constitutional questions in separate cases.

The high court's rulings expected in June would take precedence over any other courts hearing similar appeals.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Health Care • Health care reform • Justice • Politics • U.S.
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. JerseyJeff

    Political court pursuing political ends... This should not be the case. A judicial system should be as apolitical as possible. Best state court systems in this country are without a doubt California and New Jersey. These southern political courtrooms are dangerous.

    April 5, 2012 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  2. leeintulsa

    more symbolism.

    i really do think republicans are shooting themselves in the foot with this stuff..

    April 5, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      As long as they are not preventing other people from getting healthcare, they can shoot all they want.

      April 5, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Edhzlwd

    Even his law professor said Obama got it wrong. Obama, rightfully, thinks the American voter is just dumb and uninformed.

    April 5, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ♔Mmmmm♕

    a masonic move to tear at the powers of goverment...clearly there are checks and balances so why the frivilouse filings??? lawless men have no regard for any law to insert contradictions serves only their purposes...well as delays in swift justice serves wicked men alone and prolongs scourges of innocent victims...

    April 5, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  5. American idiot

    Hello??? Is this thing on???

    April 5, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tesla

      Spend spend spend. That will be odummas four year legacy

      April 5, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tesla

      1 and a half trillion dollars later on a bill that still isn't in effect. But let's ignore the facts shall we

      April 5, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  6. saywhat

    The High court has already been drawn into the political debate over this issue. They justices can no longer be perceived to be on neutral ground.

    April 5, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ♔Mmmmm♕

    iffen i remember correctly the last time the executive powers squared off against the judicial powers, I believe the president got up in arm with all his powers sent a message to the supreme courts tellin' them to kiss his a55...butta guess in obama's case it would be to kiss his black a55. the presidential powers gotta big mouth one good right arm but no legs. the judicial powers gotta big mouth too but no arms or legs, and the legislature powers just stood there saying nothin' and looking stupid cuz it got one good left arm, no legs too and a big mouth that can't tell judicial judy nor punching president what to do...without gettin vetoed and ruled against.

    April 5, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. hamsta

    Does noone hear understand obama is throwing his weight around like some sort of dictator.the supreme?court is well within their rights to school obama with an essay for punish work.obviously obama has no respect for the checks and balances system.that is the very reason the supreme court exists-to put obama and his abuse of power in check.and all of you believe the rich people owe you something-maybe you should earn it like they did.maybe you need to realize that rich man owes you nothing but you owe that rich man everything.

    April 5, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Trollbuster

      I agree with you hamsta even though you are a figment of someones imagination.

      April 5, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  9. hamsta

    Does anyone here understand that obama was disrespectful and overstepped his boundaries?the whole purpose of the supreme court is to put obama and his abuse of power in check.obama is acting as if he is some kind of dictator.he had no business insulting and trying to intimidate the supreme court.he obviously doesnt know that he is at the mercy of the supreme court.so the court well within its rights sent him back to school to write a three page essay.its really sad that a high school dropout such as myself knows this and your harvard educated lawyer for a president is unaware of the checks and balances system.obama needs to check himself-the supreme court has the power to fire(impeach)the president.

    April 5, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Philip

    All of the big pharmaceutical giants are against President Obama's plans. Notice how all of the attention has been focused on the cost of health insurance, when insurance carriers only turn a 4% profit. Now, compare that 'Gnat with this 'Camel'...Americans spend more on pharmaceuticals than they spend on defending this great nation, including the Pentagon's entire budget. Obama's plan strips big-pharma of their 12 yr. exclusive rights to newly developed meds. Whattup CNN? did you not know this to write a story? I had to do it?

    April 5, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Philip

    Big Pharma can afford to be sloppy with such huge legal firms battling out in court for them. Small pharmaceutical companies have to be very careful about what drugs they make and exactly who they sell them to, for small pharma has no huge legal defense teams. Nothing can stop America from being weaned off of dangerous mind altering pharmaceuticals. Why do you think laws regarding the use of marijuanna have been so relaxed lately? Stock-up on your money drug doktors black box meds. His days are numbered, and so are the days of his suplliers.

    April 5, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  12. hamsta

    @banasy cnn is 3 days late reporting this.cnn would rather have you bickering over the price of an airline ticket than tell you the truth about your dictator in chief.the only reason cnn is covering it now is because obama seriously p?ssed off america from the people above him to the common citizen and it couldnt be swept under the rug or spun to being the fault of a republican.

    April 5, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  13. hamsta

    @jersey jeff your statement was spoken like a true cast member of jersey shore.

    April 5, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Big Pharma go Bye Bye!

    President Obama's plan takes away the big pharmaceutical giant's stranglehold on newly developed medications, and places smaller pharmaceutical companies on a more even playing field with the big boys. This move alone will save us trillions of dollars over the coming years.

    April 5, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  15. hamsta

    @byebyebigpharma-or stop innovation research and progress in its tracks.it takes expensive technology the little guys dont have to come up with new medications.obama and company are like used car salesman.they are lieing through their teeth when they make that broken down piece of sh!t sound better than new.there is always a flip side to it.that should have been obvious when nancy pelosi said"you have to let us pass this bill so you will know whats in it."we used to have the best medical industry in the world.people used to come from all over the world just to get medical care.what changed? answer-socialist policies.

    April 5, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
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