Eleventh Circuit Strikes Individual Mandate

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

I think, therefore I am regulated?

Not if the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has anything to say about it.

In a 2-1 decision, the Eleventh Circuit ruled on Friday that the individual insurance mandate in the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional.

The majority's 207-page objection to the individual mandate can be summed up in one sentence: "The government's position amounts to an argument that the mere fact of an individual's existence substantially affects interstate commerce, and therefore Congress may regulate them at every point of their life."

Though the circuit determined that the individual mandate was unconstitutional, its ruling does not overturn the entire Act. SCOTUSblog notes provisions that are unrelated to the individual mandate remain intact.

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that the individual mandate debate is far from over. Earlier this summer, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the mandate in Thomas More Law Center v. Obama. Thomas More Law Center filed a petition for writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court at the end of July.

The Fourth Circuit is also expected to weigh in on the issue soon after hearing arguments in Virginia v. Sebelius in May. Two other challenges that had reached the circuit courts, New Jersey Physicians v. Obama and Baldwin v. Sebelius, were dismissed in August for lack of standing.

We suspect that the Supreme Court will grant cert on this issue when the Court reconvenes in September now that there is a split between the Sixth and Eleventh Circuit Courts of Appeals. In the meantime, check out FindLaw's Supreme Court blog for Supreme Court news and updates on the individual mandate challenge.

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