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U.S. Supreme Court Upholds 'ObamaCare,' Reversing Federal District Court Decisions

By the LexisNexis Jury Verdicts and Settlements Team

On Thursday, June 28, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the individual mandate set out in the "ObamaCare" health insurance reform bill, more properly known as the Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act (ACA), 26 U.S.C.S. § 5000A (National Federation of Independent Business, et al. v. Sebelius, et al., No. 11-393, U.S. Sup. [enhanced version available to subscribers]).

This was probably the most anticipated and politically momentous judicial ruling since Gore v. Bush determined who would be President of the United States. At the heart of the challenge was the § 1501 mandate, which required most Americans to carry insurance or pay a tax penalty. In an opinion authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, the Court found the mandate to be constitutional.

Although the LexisNexis Jury Verdicts and Settlements team obviously focuses its writing efforts on trial court proceedings resulting in verdicts and settlements, we also author summaries of other important trial court judgments. Several of the decisions underlying the appeals to the Supreme Court are covered in our database. For example, in 2010, U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson (E.D. Va.) entered summary judgment in an action challenging the ACA, finding the § 1501 mandate to be unconstitutional. 2010 Jury Verdicts LEXIS 43795. Contrast that result with the summary judgment opinion written by U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson (N.D. Fla.), who not only found the mandate to be unconstitutional, but he also found the entire act to be unconstitutional because the mandate could not be severed from the act. 2011 Jury Verdicts LEXIS 206072. The U.S. Government, in arguing the constitutionality of the mandate, had taken a very gutsy stance, maintaining that the mandate was a necessary part of the Act and that the Act would rise and fall with the constitutionality of the mandate.

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