A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that the state of Virginia did not have standing to sue over ObamaCare, giving the Obama Administration a small victory in the ongoing legal battle. But just like the previous ruling from Atlanta in conservatives’ favor, this only means that a Supreme Court fight is inevitable.
A three-judge panel from the 4th Circuit US. Court of Appeals ruled that Virginia does not have a right as a state to sue regarding ObamaCare, but refused to rule on the constitutionality of ObamaCare’s mandate that individuals purchase health insurance.
It’s worth noting that two of the three judges on the panel were appointed by President Obama himself — the other was appointed by President Clinton.
While this is certainly not the ruling that conservatives wanted, it’s a minor victory in the fact that the circuit court did not explicitly state that Congress has enough power through the Commerce Clause to force citizens into making a purchase. But, there’s also a legitimate cause for concern because the Obama Administration won this particular case by arguing that the mandate is actually a tax, which is a legitimate power of Congress.
HotAir.com gave a great breakdown of what that could mean when the Supreme Court ultimately issues its ruling.
The four conservative justices are likely to rule the mandate is unconstitutional because Congress doesn’t have the power to force you to make a purchase. The four liberal justices are likely to rule that Congress does have that power given to it by the Commerce Clause. Anthony Kennedy, the notorious “swing vote”, could split the difference and rule that it’s unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause, but acceptable under Congress’ power to tax.
Of course for that to happen, the Obama Administration would have to completely reverse itself and call the mandate a tax – something they refused to do when the bill was passed.
A three-judge panel for 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta did rule against the administration in mid-August, but the option to request a hearing in front of the whole court is still available. If requested, that could push a Supreme Court ruling to the 2012-2013 court cycle, meaning Obama and the Dept. of Justice would not have to defend the law as one of the biggest tax hikes in history in the middle of his re-election campaign.
Either way, a Supreme Court ruling is coming eventually. But that doesn’t mean we have to sit idly by while we wait to see what side of the fence Anthony Kennedy falls on. Congress still has the option to repeal the law, which would make any ruling by our nation’s highest court irrelevant.
We also have the option of the Health Care Compact, which if approved by Congress would give each participating state primary responsibility over their own health care – freeing them from overreaching federal regulations and mandates.