The Fourth Circuit’s rulings today in no way affect any other case and should only speed up the Supreme Court’s ultimate consideration of the issues raised in all these challenges.
The dismissal of Virginia’s lawsuit on standing grounds merely removes one particular plaintiff from consideration, even as 26 states and numerous non-state plaintiffs remain in separate suits. Similarly, the dismissal of Liberty University’s lawsuit, while interesting in that it marks the first-ever finding that the individual mandate is a tax (not for constitutional purposes, but statutorily in a way that cannot be challenged before it’s enforced), doesn’t change the jurisprudential calculus because there was already a split between the Sixth and Eleventh Circuits on the mandate’s constitutionality.
All of the constitutional issues attending the individual mandate have now been exhaustively ruled upon by three federal appellate courts in four separate cases. While the D.C. Circuit will hear argument in yet another suit later this month, there’s no reason for the Supreme Court to delay its review.
As President Obama unveils yet another plan to stimulate job creation, it’s time to finally end the uncertainty over the fate of his most economically damaging piece of legislation.