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DC Circuit Upholds Insurance Mandate in Obama Health Care Law

Posted Nov 8, 2011 12:51 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Another federal appeals court has weighed in on the health care overhaul, giving the administration a third victory in the constitutional dispute.

In a 2-1 decision issued today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled it had jurisdiction to decide the issues, and the law’s insurance mandate is constitutional. The Wall Street Journal and CNN have stories.

Judge Laurence Silberman, a Reagan appointee, wrote the opinion (PDF) for the court. "The right to be free from federal regulation is not absolute, and yields to the imperative that Congress be free to forge national solutions to national problems, no matter how local—or seemingly passive—their individual origins," he wrote. His opinion was joined by Judge Harry Edwards, a Carter appointee.

Two other federal appeals courts have split on the constitutionality of the insurance mandate, which requires individuals to buy health insurance by 2014 or pay a penalty. A third found the state of Virginia had no standing to challenge the law. The U.S. Supreme Court has not yet acted on cert petitions in other health-care challenges.

The case is Seven-Sky v. Holder.

Prior coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "Speedy Filings Could Mean Speedy Cert Decision on Health Care Law"

ABAJournal.com: "Supreme Court Asked to Decide Constitutionality of Obama Health Care Law"

ABAJournal.com: “Federal Judge Got It Wrong, Va. Lacks Standing to Challenge Health Care Reform, 4th Circuit Rules”

ABAJournal.com: "11th Circuit Strikes Down Insurance Mandate in Health Care Law, Creating Circuit Split"

ABAJournal.com: "6th Circuit Upholds Health Care Law’s Insurance Mandate"

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