On June 1, 2011, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals joined the ranks of the 4th Circuit in taking on the Obamacare lawsuits, asking whether Obamacare is unconstitutional.
The oral argument was scheduled to take place at 1:30 before a 3-judge panel of the 6th Circuit. The three judges on the panel consist of two Republican appointed judges and one Democratic appointee: Judge Boyce F. Martin, Jr., a Carter appointee, Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton, a George W. Bush appointee, and Judge James L. Graham, a Reagan appointee who is a senior federal district court judge sitting on the panel by designation.
According to the Washington Examiner, "the makeup of the panel hearing the oral argument in Cincinnati is, on the surface, more favorable for opponents of the law." This, the Examiner writes, is in stark contrast to the makeup of the panel hearing the Obamacare lawsuits on the 4th Circuit, which is composed entirely of Democratic-appointed judges.
The Thomas More Law Center, a "not-for-profit public interest law firm dedicated to the defense and promotion of the religious freedom of Christians," has filed letter briefs to address the issues of standing and ripeness in the Obamacare lawsuit. The letter briefs also address whether the challenge to the individual mandate of Obamacare is a facial or as-applied challenge.
These letter briefs, filed by the TMLC and the Department of Justice, are crucial to the case, as the Sixth Circuit will begin examining the issue on Thursday to determine first and foremost whether the plaintiffs even have standing to bring the suit. If the court rules that no such standing exists, the parties risk having their claim dismissed without a decision on the merits of whether or not Obamacare is unconstitutional.
The 4th Circuit is already hearing the Obamacare lawsuit. Next on the roster, the 11th Circuit! Keep updated on this blog and on the other circuit blogs to read more about Obamacare lawsuits in their many jurisdictions.
- 4th Circuit Asks: 'Is Obamacare Unconstitutional?' (4th Circuit Blog)
- Obamacare Lawsuit: Is Justice Elena Kagan Impartial? (Supreme Court Blog)
- Obamacare Unconstitutional? Judge Slaps Down Healthcare Law (FindLaw's Decided)