The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit heard a suit filed by the Thomas More Law Center challenging Obamacare today. So far, the consensus by the oral arguments is that opponents of the federal intrusive law, Obamacare, should be cautiously optimistic.
The court first considered Obama’s motion to dismiss the suit on the grounds that the original plaintiffs challenging the individual mandate subsequently obtained health insurance. Then the court moved on to the merits of the case, whether the mandate could be constitutionally justified under the federal taxing power or the US Commerce Clause power.
The judicial panel consists of two Republican-appointed judges and one Democratic-appointed judge. This panel is more likely to be sympathetic to conservatives than the Fourth Circuit, made up entirely of Democratic appointees, which considered the Virginia-based lawsuit last month. Two of the appointees were appointed directly by President Obama.
Next week, the Eleventh Circuit will hear oral arguments in the Florida lawsuit, representing 26 states. While North Carolina is not a party to the lawsuit, it did file a amicus “friend of the court” brief in early May, arguing in favor of the other plaintiff states. The Eleventh Circuit decision will be overseen by two Democrats and one Republican.
The decision will ultimately rest with the US Supreme Court, which may not take up the case until 2012. Stay tuned as we continue to follow this debate.