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SCOTUS Likely To Rule On Health Law Next Summer

From The Washington Post:

By , Published: September 26

The constitutionality of the 2010 health-care law could be determined by the Supreme Court this term, with a decision coming next summer in the thick of the 2012 presidential campaign.

The Justice Department said Monday evening that it had decided not to ask the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta to take up the case. A three-member panel of the court last month decided 2 to 1 that Congress overstepped its authority in passing the Affordable Care Act, which requires virtually all Americans to obtain health insurance.

Although the department declined further comment, the logical next step for the Obama administration is to ask the justices to make what would be the final determination on the law’s fate.

Appeals courts that have considered the law are split.

In June, a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit in Cincinnati upheld the health-care law in a separate case.

Earlier this month, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in Richmond turned down a challenge to the law brought by the Commonwealth of Virginia and others.

The timing of how to respond to the loss in the Atlanta appeals court and when to seek Supreme Court consideration has prompted considerable political speculation about President Obama’s signature domestic achievement.

The law is one of the most contentious and visible ways the president differs with his Republican challengers. A Supreme Court decision either way — that the law is a valid exercise of Congress’s power or an unconstitutional overreach — could have political effects neither side can predict.

The administration might have been able to delay a ruling on the law until after the election if it had asked for an en banc review, meaning that all the judges on the 11th Circuit would hear the case. But administration officials came to the conclusion it was time to move the issue on.

“It’s an open question whether going en banc would have been successful,” said one administration official who would not agree to be named discussing the decision. “It’s likely it wouldn’t have even been granted.”

Critics of the law had demanded the administration not drag its feet in getting the case to the high court, and Monday’s decision drew rare praise. Continue reading

ACA’s Individual Mandate Wins First Appellate Review

From The New York Times:

By –Published: June 29, 2011

The Obama administration won the first appellate review of the 2010 health care law on Wednesday as a three-judge panel from the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati held that it was constitutional for Congress to require that Americans obtain health insurance.

 The ruling is the first of three opinions to be delivered by separate courts of appeal that heard arguments in the health care litigation in May and June. Opinions are expected soon from panels in both the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Va., and in the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta.

Lawyers on both sides of the case widely expect the Supreme Court to take one or more of the cases, perhaps as soon as its coming term, which starts in October. The speed of the Sixth Circuit ruling could help ensure that timing. Continue reading

Is The Individual Insurance Mandate Unconstitutional?

From Politico:

Judges are exploring whether there is precedent in upholding law requiring purchases.         |AP Photo


ATLANTA — A federal appeals panel asked pointed questions Wednesday about how much of President Barack Obama’s health care law would have to be struck down if they ruled that its individual insurance mandate is unconstitutional.

But the three 11th Circuit Court of Appeals judges also were receptive to the government’s argument that the health care market is different from all others and needs that kind of regulation — giving the law’s supporters some hope that the appeals panel would side with them.

The judges’ questions were mixed enough to give encouragement to both sides in the oral arguments in the multistate lawsuit, the most significant of the legal challenges against Obama’s health care overhaul.

But supporters of the health law cringed as the judges spent a significant amount of time questioning both sides over how much of the law they would have to void if they struck down the most controversial provision at the center of the suit: the requirement to buy insurance. Continue reading

Federal Judge Upholds Health Care Law

By JOSH GERSTEIN | 10/7/10 5:37 PM EDT

A federal judge in Michigan has upheld as Constitutional a provision in the health care reform bill requiring uninsured individuals to purchase insurance.

U.S. District Court Judge George Steeh ruled Thursday that the so-called individual mandate — a requirement President Barack Obama opposed during the presidential campaign but later embraced as part of sweeping changes — falls squarely within Congress’s ability under the Constitution to regulate interstate commerce.

“The decision whether to purchase insurance or to attempt to pay for health care out of pocket is plainly economic,” Steeh wrote in a 20-page opinion. “These decisions, viewed in the aggregate, have clear and direct impacts on health care providers, taxpayers and the insured population, who ultimately pay for the care provided to those who go without insurance.”

Continue reading