September 8 2011
This comes as no surprise, but at least it's settled: The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed both Virginia v. Sebelius and Liberty v. Geithner today, ruling that the challengers of ObamaCare did not have standing. After the panel requested supplemental briefs on the Anti-Injunction Act mid-summer, they raised suspicion that they would deem the individual mandate a tax. This is tricky of them, you see, as the Anti-Injunction Act does not allow plaintiffs to sue over unconstitutional taxes until the taxes are collected (and the penalty fines for the individual mandate will not be collected until 2014).
No other court (even the liberal ones!) has ruled that the individual mandate is a tax. The most recent appellate court to rule on ObamaCare offered an in-depth explanation of why the individual mandate must be considered an economic mandate (and not a tax!). Read more about that here.
While today's news is somewhat disappointing, it's not a surprise at all. Two of the three judges selected in the Fourth Circuit panel were appointed to the bench by President Obama himelf. If there is a silver lining to this cloud, however, it is that at least now we have an answer from the feet-dragging Fourth Circuit. Virginia and Liberty-U were stalled out in Appeals-land for too long, waiting more than a month longer than the plaintiff-appellees in the Florida case to get their rulings. The dismissal of the Liberty case and the Virginia case won't have any effect on the other cases, and maybe now we will see one of the multiple ObamaCare challenges move to the Supreme Court.
Americans are tired of the uncertainty that ObamaCare has brought, and want a final answer from the Supreme Court. We can only hope that today's ruling means more pressure for the High Court to resolve the various issues and opinions surrounding this law's Constitutionality.