Earlier today, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower-court ruling that found that the federal government cannot force Americans to purchase health care insurance.
Known as the "individual mandate," this portion of the health care legislation has been highly controversial. This is a major victory for proponents of the legislation, though the battle is far from over. This most recent decision reinforces the notion that the health care battle will inevitably be settled in the Supreme Court. The Hill has more:
Most legal observers expect the [Supreme Court] to hear arguments during the term that begins in October and rule in the summer of 2012.
The 4th Circuit’s long-awaited decision isn’t a huge surprise: People who attended oral arguments in the suits said the judges seemed skeptical of the mandate’s critics, especially Cuccinelli. All three of the judges who heard the case were appointed by Democratic presidents, and two were appointed by Obama.
This is the second time an appellate court has ruled in favor of the government's right to require that citizens purchase health care or pay a penalty. The decision follows another similar one in Cincinnati, where the law was also upheld. But a separate appeals court, in Atlanta, ruled against the individual mandate.
So far, more than 30 legal challenges have been launched against the law.
This is a breaking news story. Stay tuned for updates.