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Court, for now, punts on request to fast-track health care challenge

From NBC's Pete Williams
The United States Supreme Court today took no action on a request from the state of Virginia, which is asking the court to fast-track a challenge to the Obama health care law.

The justices were to have discussed the case last Friday, but today's delay signals that they're not yet ready to say what they'll do about Virginia's request.

The court does not always take immediate action after the justices talk about pending matters in a closed-door conference; cases are sometimes repeatedly placed on the calendar for discussion. The reason may be that one or more of the justices wants to write a dissent to the court's action, or there could be other factors they want to consider.

Virginia's Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli, wants the Supreme Court to let the state bypass the normal federal appeals process and take the case directly to the justices. The court's rules allow for this, but it is something that is granted only very rarely. The Justice Department opposed the request to come to the Supreme Court on a fast track.

Virginia's is one of several challenges to the centerpiece of the law, the requirement that virtually all Americans buy health insurance.

Two federal judges, in Virginia and Florida, have found that provision unconstitutional. Three others, also in Virginia and in Michigan and Washington, DC, have found the law constitutional.