U.S. Supreme Court justices have revealed they are giving nearly unprecedented attention to the case involving whether the new national health care law - "Obamacare" to its critics - is unconstitutional. The justices have scheduled most of a week in March to hear arguments for and against the law.
Their timing means it is likely a ruling on the law will be made next summer, before the 2012 presidential election.
At least most observers hope justices will rule on the statute's constitutionality. Another announcement made by the court this week may cause some nervousness in that regard.
Before hearing pros and cons on the law itself, the justices will devote one hour to hearing arguments about whether they should be dealing with the issue at all. That hearing will focus on the contention by some it is premature for the court to get involved because no one has yet been forced to pay a fine for not obtaining government-approved health insurance.
That is nonsense, of course. As justices are fully aware, allowing the law to go into effect could mean it cannot be reversed.
Still, the court's willingness to hear the argument is of concern. The matter is, to put it bluntly, one of those infamous "technicalities" over which judges are so often criticized.
Indeed, such matters must be addressed. But the high court should go ahead and hear the case - and should issue a ruling based on the core issue of constitutionality. Deciding one way or another because of a "technicality" will serve no one well.