Yesterday, a panel for the Sixth District Court of Appeals issued a ruling stating that a requirement on Americans to purchase health insurance coverage is a proper use of legislature power through the Commerce Clause:
The Obama administration prevailed Wednesday in the first appellate review of the 2010 health care law as a three-judge panel from the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that it was constitutional for Congress to require that Americans buy health insurance.
The ruling by the Cincinnati court is the first of three opinions to be delivered by separate courts of appeal that heard arguments in the health care litigation in May and June. Opinions are expected soon from panels in the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Va., and the 11th Circuit in Atlanta.
Lawyers on both sides of the case widely expect the Supreme Court to take one or more of the cases, perhaps as soon as its coming term, which starts in October. The speed of the Sixth Circuit ruling could help ensure that timing.
The opinion was the first not to break down strictly along seemingly partisan lines. In the 2-to-1 ruling, a judge appointed by a Republican president joined one named by a Democrat to write the majority opinion.
By the panel’s reasoning, as long as the Congress has a “rational basis” to pass legislation, there is no end to the breadth of legislative power. The scenario presented by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) during Elena Kagan’s confirmation process to the Supreme Court, that Congress could pass a requirement that every American eat their vegetables using power under the Commerce Clause, would be legitimate under the Sixth District’s interpretation.