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Eleventh Circuit declines full panel hearing of health care appeal

The US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit [official website] on Thursday denied [order, PDF] the petition for initial hearing en banc [Cornell LII backgrounder] in the health care reform law [HR 3590 materials; JURIST news archive] appeal. The two-page order does not reveal the results of the vote other than indicating a majority voted against it. The order confirms that the appeal will nonetheless be expedited. Oral arguments are currently scheduled for June 8 before a randomly-selected three-judge panel. The identities of the panel members will not be disclosed until at least 14 days before the arguments.

Earlier this month, the Obama administration filed a brief [PDF] with the court contesting the plaintiff states' request [JURIST report] to have the appeal heard by an en banc court. Also this month, the Eleventh Circuit granted [JURIST report] the Obama administration's motion for an expedited appeal. Last month, Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli filed a petition for a writ of certiorari [JURIST report] with the US Supreme Court [JURIST news archive] asking the court to rule on the constitutionality of the law on an expedited basis, before the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit rules on the issue, but the Obama administration opposes the petition [JURIST report]. In January, a judge for the US District Court for the Western District of Virginia dismissed a lawsuit [JURIST report] challenging a provision of the health care reform law. In October, a federal judge in Michigan ruled that the law is constitutional [JURIST report] under the Commerce Clause as it addresses the economic effects of health care decisions, and that it does not represent an unconstitutional direct tax.

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