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Obamacare: Bad 6th Circuit Decision Assures Supreme Court Review in Fall
Posted By Hans von Spakovsky On June 29, 2011 @ 4:54 pm In Health Care,Rule of Law | 19 Comments
Today, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision upholding Obamacare against a constitutional challenge. While this is disappointing, there are several reasons to believe that this flawed decision is not predictive of how the Supreme Court will rule.
In recent years, the Sixth Circuit has achieved a growing reputation for not just reversals, but summary reversals at the Supreme Court. In a summary reversal, the Supreme Court unanimously reverses a lower court decision without hearing argument or even having a full merits briefing—because the decision is so clearly wrong. It is a sure sign of an activist court misapplying the law.
Among the liberal judges who have helped the Sixth Circuit achieve this less-than-stellar reputation is Boyce Martin. When he was the chief judge, he infamously manipulated the panel of an affirmative action case to make sure liberals outnumbered conservatives. He also shifted the timing of the review of an en banc case—he waited until conservative judges had left the court to circulate the petition, so that they would not be on the panel to hear the case. Martin is the author of today’s unfortunate opinion.
There are several reasons to believe this decision will be an outlier.
This is the first of the circuit court decisions to address the issue, but most court-watchers are fervently awaiting the decisions in cases raised by the states and the NFIB. Again, it is clear that the question of whether Congress has abused its power will ultimately be answered by the Supreme Court. The fact that this decision came down today—in the same week that the Supreme Court ended its current term—just about guarantees that the Court will have the opportunity to review the statute in its fall term.
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