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Challenge to Health Care Statute Heard by Fourth Circuit Today; Sixth Circuit Argument on the Horizon

Posted in News and Analysis, Recent Cases

As we reported two weeks ago, the Fourth Circuit is hearing oral arguments today in the appeal from Virginia District Court Judge Henry Hudson’s December 13, 2010 decision declaring unconstitutional the mandate requiring individuals to purchase health insurance under the recently enacted Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Public Law 111-148See Commonwealth of Virginia, et al. v. Sebelius (Fourth Circuit, Case No. 11-1057).

The Fourth Circuit disclosed today that the randomly selected three-judge panel hearing the appeal includes Judge Diana Gribbon Motz, Judge Andrew M. Davis, and Judge James A. Wynn, Jr.  All three judges were nominated by Democrat Presidents, including two of them by President Obama.  Does this mean that the Fourth Circuit is certain to uphold the constitutionality of the health care statute?  Is President Obama’s recent winning streak certain to continue?  We’ll let you know when the Fourth Circuit renders a decision.

In the meantime, the Sixth Circuit soon will be releasing the names of the judges hearing the appeal from the October 7, 2010 decision by Judge George Steeh of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan upholding the individual mandate under the health care statute.  See Thomas More Law Center, et al. v. Obama, et al. (Sixth Circuit, Case No. 10-2388).  The Sixth Circuit has scheduled oral arguments for Wednesday, June 1, 2011 at 1:30 p.m.  We’ll report the names of the judges sitting on the Sixth Circuit panel as soon as we find out.