D.C. Circuit Upholds Individual Mandate Provision in PPACA

Today, in a 2-1 split decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld the constitutionality of the individual health care mandate in the Patient Protection in Affordable Care Act.

Writing for the majority, Judge Laurence H. Silberman rejected the opponents’ argument that the law exceeded the powers of Congress under the Commerce Clause, and also stated that the appellants did not make a clear showing to overcome the presumption that acts of Congress are constitutional.

The dissenting opinion of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, argued that the Court’s consideration of the constitutionality of the law was premature because the law was not scheduled to take effect until 2014.

The PPACA/individual mandate scorecard stands as follows:  The Fourth Circuit did not reach the issue, holding that the State of Virginia lacked standing to challenge the provision; the Eleventh Circuit decided that the individual mandate exceeded the powers of Congress, but could be stricken from the law, thereby allowing the rest of the statute to survive; and the Sixth Circuit upheld the individual mandate.

Additionally, the 8th Circuit held oral argument on the individual mandate challenge case before it (Peter Kinder, et al. v. Timothy Geithner, et al., No. 11-1973, 8th Cir.) on October 20, 2011, but has not yet issued an opinion.

This post was contributed by David Nardolillo.