Appeals Court Rules Health Law's Individual Mandate Constitutional

News outlets are covering the appeals court decision in the Susan Seven-Sky vs. Holder challenge to the health law. The judges split two-to-one, with Reagan and Carter appointees in the majority and a George W. Bush appointee dissenting.

Politico: D.C. Court Upholds Health Reform Law
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld the health reform law’s requirement that nearly all Americans buy insurance — and the law’s supporters are declaring victory because the opinion was written by a conservative judge. The opinion — written by Laurence Silberman, who was nominated by former President Ronald Reagan –is the latest appeals court ruling ahead of the Supreme Court likely taking up the issue this spring (Haberkorn, 11/8).

The Hill: Federal Appeals Court Upholds Healthcare Law
[I]n a symbolic win for the law’s supporters, the opinion was written by Judge Laurence Silberman — a Reagan appointee. ... Silberman said the commerce clause of the Constitution allows Congress to regulate decisions that affect interstate commerce. People don’t have to be active participants in a particular market to be subject to government mandates, he wrote (Baker, 11/8).

Bloomberg:  Obama’s Health-Care Law Requiring Insurance Upheld by Appeals Court Panel
“Congress, which would, in our minds, clearly have the power to impose insurance purchase conditions on persons who appeared at a hospital for medical services -- as rather useless as that would be -- is merely imposing the mandate in reasonable anticipation of virtually inevitable future transactions in interstate commerce,” Judge Laurence Silberman wrote in the 2-1 opinion (Schoenberg and Harris, 11/8).

CNN:  Health Care Law Held Constitutional In Latest Appeals Court Ruling
The majority in this latest case concluded while the assertion of federal authority in the law is large, so too is the issue Congress and the president sought to tackle (Mears, 11/8).

The Wall Street Journal:  In ‘Sparing’ Opinion, D.C. Circuit Upholds Affordable Care Act
On its face, the ruling will have little impact; the U.S. Supreme Court is almost certain to take up the case (and could announce its plans to do so as early as this week). That said, Tuesday’s ruling could still have an impact on the justices. All three were presumably writing with the high court in mind, with full knowledge that every word written will likely be read by all the justices. Any justices on the fence (Chief Justice John Roberts? Justice Anthony Kennedy?) could be swayed by the words of Silberman, Edwards or Kavanaugh, all of whom are highly regarded jurists (Jones, 11/8).

The Associated Press:  US Appeals Court Upholds Obama Health Care Law
The suit in Washington was brought by the American Center for Law and Justice, a legal group founded by evangelist Pat Robertson. It claimed that the insurance mandate is unconstitutional because it forces Americans to buy a product for the rest of their lives and that it violates the religious freedom of those who choose not to have insurance because they rely on God to protect them from harm (Pickler, 11/8).

Read the full text of the ruling.

For more on this and other lawsuits:  Kaiser Health News is tracking the challenges to the health law in a health law scoreboard.

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