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4th Circuit backs Obama on healthcare

Just in time for President Obama’s visit to Richmond Friday, the 4th U.S Circuit of Appeals has delivered two opinions upholding the president’s healthcare plan against challenges from both the state and from Liberty University.

The three-judge panel that heard the cases determined Virginia had no standing to speak for citizens subject to a healthcare mandate. The panel also determined, 2-to-1, that the court had no jurisdiction to hear LU’s attack on a tax that had not yet been levied.

The 4th Circuit’s decisions on the healthcare challenges bring scant surprise. The panel selected to hear the cases included two Obama appointees and another judge appointed by President Clinton.

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli expressed disappointment with the court’s ruling on Virginia’s challenge.

Cuccinelli said the court’s reasoning is at odds with constitutional design. “In rejecting Virginia’s right to bring the action, the court said that allowing such suits would allow the states to serve as ‘roving constitutional watchdogs.’ This was exactly a role that the Founding Fathers planned for the states to have,” Cuccinelli said.

Liberty University law school Dean Mat Staver said the school will petition to have the case heard by the United States Supreme Court, rather than ask for a full court re-hearing at the 4th Circuit. Staver said he expects the state will take the same course.

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