The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, which began hearing oral arguments for and against the Affordable Care Act’s constitutionality this week, might be a tough crowd for the Obama Administration, even though two of the three judges are Bill Clinton appointees.
All three judges seemed unsympathetic to the administration’s defense of the individual mandate, and seemed more open to once-fringe Republican arguments that it violated the clause of the Constitution which gives Congress the right to regulate interstate commerce.
Legal commentators and experts, including conservatives such as former top Reagan Administration official Charles Fried, have called the challenge to the law tenuous at best, but yesterday’s hearing suggests this case–which is being led from the right by a collection of 26 states’ attorneys general and comes as full repeal is an article of faith among increasingly dogmatic Republican primary voters–is definitely going down to the wire. No matter what the 11th Circuit decides, it’s likely that the loser will appeal to the Supreme Court to make a final decision. [Los Angeles Times]