The Constitutionality of the Federal Health Care Law
by Leon Friedman
May 13, 2011
A federal appeals court has just heard the first appeals from lower court decisions dealing with the constitutionality of the federal health care law (alternately called “Obama care” and the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”). A Virginia judge and a Florida judge (both appointed by Republican Presidents) have decided that Congress lacks power under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution to pass the federal health care law. Three other federal trial judges (appointed by Democratic Presidents) had upheld the law. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals that just heard the case is composed of three appellate judges appointed by Democratic Presidents. The judges asked a number of questions generally supporting the government’s position upholding the law. The Supreme Court will presumably have to settle the issue.
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