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Individual Mandate Challenge Dismissed for Lack of Standing

By Robyn Hagan Cain on August 17, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The Ninth Circuit removed itself from the Affordable Care Act constitutionality debate on Friday.

A three-judge panel upheld the district court's decision in the case, finding that plaintiff Steve Baldwin and the Pacific Justice Institute lacked standing to bring their claim. Baldwin objected to the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act, but neglected to allege that he does not have qualifying health insurance or that he will not have it in 2014.

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals issued a similar ruling earlier this month in New Jersey Physicians v. Obama. In that case, the court ruled that the doctors challenging the individual mandate had suffered no injury and lacked standing to sue.

Fear not, constitutional law junkies: the ultimate issue of individual mandate constitutionality lives on in appeals from Sixth and Eleventh Circuit decisions. The Sixth Circuit ruled in June that the individual mandate is constitutional, while the Eleventh Circuit ruled on Friday that Congress exceeded the scope of its authority by mandating that individuals purchase health insurance.

Attorneys for Thomas More Law Center, the plaintiff in the Sixth Circuit challenge, filed a petition for writ of certiorari at the end of July. The federal government has 90 days from Friday's Eleventh Circuit ruling to file its writ.

Still outstanding? An individual mandate decision from the Fourth Circuit in Virginia v. Sebelius. The Fourth Circuit heard arguments in May and is expected to hand down a decision soon.

The Supreme Court returns from summer recess on September 26, at which time many experts believe the Court will agree to hear the individual mandate issue. Until then, check out FindLaw's Supreme Court blog for news and updates on the individual mandate challenge.

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