A conservative-leaning panel of federal appellate judges on Tuesday upheld President Barack Obama’s health care law as constitutional, helping set up a Supreme Court fight.
“The right to be free from federal regulation is not absolute and yields to the imperative that Congress be free to forge national solutions to national problems,” Judge Laurence Silberman, an appointee of President Ronald Reagan, wrote in the 2-1 opinion. Silberman was joined by Judge Harry Edwards, a Carter appointee.
The court agreed to dismiss a Christian legal group’s lawsuit claiming the requirement that all Americans get health insurance is unconstitutional and violates the religious freedom of those who choose not to have insurance because they rely on God to protect them from harm.
The requirement has been the subject of several lawsuits, with some judges across the country ruling it unconstitutional and others upholding the law. The Supreme Court is expected to decide soon, perhaps within days, whether to accept appeals from some of those earlier rulings.
The suit in Washington was brought by the American Center for Law and Justice, a legal group founded by evangelist Pat Robertson.