Update on Challenges to Obamacare

August 12, 2011, 3:45 PM

On August 12, 2011, the Eleventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling holding the individual mandate provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010 (Obamacare), to be unconstitutional. The divided three-judge panel struck down the requirement that Americans must carry health insurance or face penalties. The ruling did not go so far as to invalidate Obamacare entirely.

The Eleventh Circuit ruling follows the June 29, 2011 Sixth Circuit ruling which upheld the constitutionality of Obamacare, which was the first appeals court decision to rule on a challenge to the law. Appeals still remain pending in Richmond (4th Circuit), and Washington, D.C. (D.C. Circuit).

The Eleventh Circuit ruling opens the door to the Supreme Court granting certiorari to resolve the conflicting decisions in different circuits regarding the constitutionality of the individual mandate provisions of Obamacare. The Thomas More Law Center has already filed a petition for certiorari with the United States Supreme Court on July 26, 2011. However, the Supreme Court is unlikely to grant certiorari until the remaining circuits rule, which most likely will not occur until 2012. Christopher L. McLean