This might be the quickest circuit split we've ever seen: Within hours of each other, the D.C. Circuit and the Fourth Circuit each ruled on parallel challenges to Obamacare subsidies provided to individuals who purchase insurance through the federal exchange.
The D.C. Circuit "reluctantly" ruled against the government, holding that the unambiguous text of the statute, which provides only for subsides for insurance policies "enrolled in through an Exchange established by the State," supports the plaintiffs' contention that the IRS was not authorized to provide tax credits individuals using the federal exchange. A dissenting judge from the D.C. Circuit, as well as the Fourth Circuit, disagreed, holding that the language of the statute as a whole is ambiguous, and that the IRS's interpretation was a "permissible exercise of the agency's discretion."
It's an instant circuit split, one that could end up before the U.S. Supreme Court as early as next term, depending on whether en banc review in the two courts is sought or granted.