Rulings on Health Care Mandate Set Up Supreme Court Showdown

Pasadena, CA – Two major rulings today by federal courts of appeal on opposite sides of the country have made it near-certain that the U.S. Supreme Court will rule on President Obama’s sweeping health care reform, possibly as early as the upcoming October term.

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Atlanta, today struck down the inpidual mandate that would require nearly every American to buy health insurance, beginning in 2014. The court ruled that Congress did not have the authority to enact such a sweeping mandate.

Meanwhile, the California-based Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled, in a lawsuite filed by Pacific Justice Institute and former Assemblyman Steve Baldwin, that the parties lacked standing to challenge the inpidual mandate. This ruling is in contrast to a prior decision by the Cincinnati-based Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals that granted standing to similar plaintiffs and ruled on the merits in favor of the health care law.

The splintered decisions make it more likely than ever that the U.S. Supreme Court will weigh in. More than half the states—including some under the Ninth Circuit’s jurisdiction—joined the Eleventh Circuit case originally filed by the State of Florida, making the ruling extremely significant.

Meanwhile, Pacific Justice Institute is promising further appeals in its challenge. PJI president Brad Dacus commented, “We believe the Eleventh Circuit got it right and the Ninth Circuit got it wrong today. We are committed to seeking further review of these important issues until freedom is restored and our most basic health care decisions are taken back from the government.”