Now is time for high court to allow public access

Published 8:00 am Thursday, November 24, 2011

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to consider the constitutionality of the health-insurance law passed in 2010 comes as little surprise, but is a welcome development for a nation weary of the uncertainty surrounding this enormous issue.

… American employers are stuck trying to comply with it, even as multiple challenges to it have generated conflicting lower-court rulings. A ruling by the nation’s highest court will bring clarity.

It also should be historic. The court has scheduled an unprecedented 51/2 hours of argument for the issue, likely in March. Most cases get a single hour.

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The extremely high profile of the health care issue and the anxiety the law has generated likely will draw attention to the court like no case in recent memory.

The questions to be considered are many and complex, including whether the mandate for almost all Americans to buy health insurance is constitutional and, if it isn’t, whether other parts of the law can go forward without it.

If ever there was a time for the high court to consider allowing greater public access to the oral arguments — lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are pushing for televised coverage — this might be it.

The Columbus Dispatch