11th Circuit Strikes Down Individual Mandate

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has just issued a 2-1 ruling striking down the individual mandate in a suit brought by 26 state governments, the National Federation of Independent Business, and others. This is the first court of appeals decision striking down the mandate, and creates a circuit split with the recent Sixth Circuit decision going the other way. The opinion is available here. It’s easily the most important victory for the anti-mandate side so far.

Significantly, Judge Frank Hull, a Clinton appointee has now become the first Democratic-appointed judge to vote to strike down the mandate, balancing Republican Sixth Circuit Judge Jeffrey Sutton who voted to uphold it. The decision further undermines claims that the individual mandate suit is a sure loser that goes against a supposed expert consensus that the mandate is clearly constitutional.

It is now extremely likely that the Supreme Court will end up hearing the case, as the Court cannot allow a situation where the mandate is valid in some parts of the country but not in others. I recently opined on the case’s prospects in the Supreme Court here.

I will try to post additional commentary on the decision as soon as possible. Unfortunately, this is a very busy day, and it may take a while to fully study the 300 pages of the majority and dissenting opinions.