4th Circuit Dismisses Two Challenges to Obamacare

September 16, 2011, 01:49 PM

On September 8, 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit dismissed two lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the individual mandate provision contained in President Obamas healthcare reform overhaul (Obamacare). The three-judge panel declared that the Fourth Circuit does not have jurisdiction, citing the Tax Anti-Injunction Act as preventing the court from hearing a challenge to the constitutionality of Obamacare. Therefore, the appellate court dismissed the two lawsuitsone filed by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and one filed by Liberty Universitywithout ruling on the constitutionality issues presented. The Fourth Circuit is the third appellate court to hear lawsuits challenging Obamacare, which includes the individual mandate provision requiring individuals to buy health insurance or pay a penalty. The Sixth Circuit ruling upheld the constitutionality while the Eleventh Circuit declared the individual mandate provision to be unconstitutional. The D.C. Circuit is yet to rule on the appeal pending in its appellate court. This latest decision from the Fourth Circuit further paves the road heading toward the Supreme Court. —Christopher L. McLean