Sixth circuit hears Obamacare appeal 

Earlier today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit heard a suit challenging the national health care law, and Cato's Ilya Shapiro, who was on hand for the oral arguments, found reason for  opponents of the law to be "cautiously optimistic."

The court first considered the Obama administration's motion to dismiss the suit on the grounds that one of the original plaintiffs challenging the law's requirement that individuals purchase insurance subsequently obtained health insurance.

Then it moved on to the merits of the case -- whether the individual mandate could be constitutionally justified under the federal government's taxing power or Commerce Clause power.

This panel, which was comprised of two Republican-appointed judges and a Democratic-appointed judge, was more likely to be sympathetic to the point of view of the opponents of the law than the Fourth Circuit, which considered the Virginia-based lawsuit last month in Richmond. The Fourth Circuit's three-judge panel was made up entirely of Democratic appointees, two of whom were appointed by Obama himself.

The case before the Sixth Circuit was filed by the Thomas More Law Center. You can listen to audio of the oral arguments on the court's website here.

Next Wednesday, the 11th Circuit will hear oral arguments in the suit brought by 26 states led by Florida. That panel will be made up of two Democrats and one Republican.

Most legal observers expect the issue to ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Philip Klein

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