I found this interesting, and wonder to the likelyhood of it: Legal Experts See a Close Win for Health-Reform Law - Yahoo! News
The whole article is interesting and presents both sides of the debate fairly well to my mind, but this is what caught my eye:
Do you think SCOTUS will pass on ruling on the mandate in an election year and put it off until after it is in effect?But, some of the experts believe there's also a good chance the Supreme Court will punt on the issue, declaring that the time isn't right for judicial review of the Affordable Care Act.
"I think it's interesting they're going to spend a lot of time -- a third of oral arguments -- on whether the case is 'ripe' for judicial review," said Drexel's Field. "That could be a signal from the court that they're spending that much time on that part of the argument."
The reason why: the individual mandate, which takes effect in 2014, is a form of tax, and federal law doesn't allow a legal challenge to a tax that has yet to be collected.
"You can't challenge a tax until after you've paid it, and then you can sue for a refund," Larsen said, noting that this legal argument has come up in some lower court rulings on the law.