The Obama administration says the Supreme Court should not permit Virginia to sidestep a federal appeals court in the state's challenge to the health care law.
In court papers filed with the justices Monday, the federal government says there is no reason to take the extremely rare step of "short-circuiting" review by appellate judges, which already has been accelerated.
A federal judge in Virginia struck down the centerpiece of the health care law, the requirement that citizens buy health insurance or pay a penalty starting in 2014.
The Obama administration urged the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., to reverse the ruling, saying the requirement is within Congress' powers.
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli petitioned the Supreme Court, seeking to leapfrog the appeals court.