BREAKING: Another Court of Appeals Ruling on Affordable Care Act

In a 37 page ruling the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued a split opinion upholding the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) (P.L. 111-148). Like many other opinions on the matter, it focused on the “individual mandate” portion of the law that requires individuals to have health insurance or pay a penalty to the federal government for non-compliance. Citizens filed suit and asked for declarative and injunctive relief, arguing Congress exceeded its authority given under the Commerce Clause. The lower court granted the government’s motion to dismiss, and the Court of Appeal upheld that ruling.

In the majority opinion Judge Silberman wrote that “the right to be free from frederal regulation is not aboslute and yields to the imperative that Congress be free to forge national solutions to national problems, no matter how local- or seemingly passive- their individual origins.”

The opinion also stated that the individual mandate was  an encroachment on individual liberty but no moreso than the requirement that restaurants or hotels serve all customers regardless of race. How this opinion will factor into the Supreme Court opinion that is sure to come remains to be seen.

Susan Seven-Sky v. Eric Holder, Jr. No. 11-5047