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Temple Law Professor Thinks Supreme Court Might Punt Challenge To Health Care Law

By Suzanne Monaghan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - The United States Supreme Court begins three days of arguments on whether to kill or keep President Barack Obama's health care overhaul law. But it may be too soon for the court to make that decision.

One argument is the mandate to carry health insurance or pay a penalty is essentially a tax.

The Anti-Injunction act says you can't seek an order to challenge the payment of a tax ahead of time. What you have to do is pay a tax and then sue for a refund.

"If that was accepted by the Supreme Court, it would kick the can down the road," says Robert Reinstein, a Professor at Temple University Law School. "In other words, they wouldn't be deciding the merits of the (Patient Protection and) Affordable Care Act now. They'd be delaying it for at least two years," when the mandate is scheduled to take effect in 2014.

"All of the parties of the case including the administration are opposing the application of Anti-injunction Act. They all want the case decided now."

He says he believes there is a good chance the Supreme Court will say the court challenges are premature.

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