Federal Health Care Law Moves Closer to Supreme Court
By John Gramlich, Staff Writer
Ruling 2-to-1, 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that the law's "individual mandate" provision - which requires Americans to purchase health insurance - exceeds the authority granted to Congress. By contrast, the 6th U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ruled on June 29 that the commerce clause of the Constitution does give Congress the authority to require the purchase of health insurance.
A third appeals court ruling, from the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, is pending, according to The Christian Science Monitor .
The U.S. Supreme Court has broad authority to take up any appeals it wants, but conflicting rulings in the federal appeals courts are a strong sign that the justices will step in to settle a dispute. The high court's new term begins in October and extends through next summer, so there is a good chance that the legal battle over the Obama health care law will coincide with the political battle for the White House.
While much of the legal wrangling over the health care law has fallen along partisan lines - with Democratic-appointed judges favoring the measure and Republicans opposing it - Friday's majority ruling was the work of judges appointed from opposite sides of the political aisle, The Christian Science Monitor notes.