Court blocks Virginia suit on reform mandate

A  federal appeals court in Richmond ruled Thursday that Virginia’s attorney general does not have legal standing to challenge the 2010 health reform law’s requirement that all Americans obtain insurance.

The three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals cited technicalities and did not rule on the constitutional issues raised by the two lawsuits involved, the Associated Press reported.

It’s the third federal appeals court to rule on challenges to the constitutionality of the insurance mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act.

The two previous rulings addressed the actual issue of constitutionality. An appellate court in Cincinnati upheld the law, while an appeals court in Atlanta recently struck down the insurance mandate while preserving the rest of the law. Georgia was among 26 states challenging the Affordable Care Act in the 11th Circuit Court decision in Atlanta.

All three of the judges on the Virginia panel were appointed by Democratic presidents –- two by Barack Obama and one by Bill Clinton. They said claims by Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli, a Republican, and Liberty University that the insurance requirement is unconstitutional cannot legally go forward at this time.

The appellate rulings very likely mean that the constitutionality issue will be settled by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Here’s the Associated Press account of the Thursday ruling.