Entries in Appeal (1)


Big Break for Health Care Reform?

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(RICHMOND, Va.) -- As Justice Department lawyers prepare to defend the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals announced that the arguments -- which mark the first time a challenge to the health care law has been heard by a federal appeals court -- will be heard by three judges who were all appointed by Democratic presidents.

Up until now, the three lower court judges who have ruled in favor of the health care law were appointed by Democratic presidents, and the two who have struck down the law's central provision were nominated by Republican presidents. Now, for the first time, the challenge to the law will be heard by a three-judge appeals court panel; two of the judges were appointed by President Obama and one by President Clinton. The judges are: Diana Motz (Clinton), Andre Davis (Obama) and James Wynn (Obama).

While significant, this does not guarantee a victory for the administration. There is precedent for a judge appointed by a president from one party to rule in a way that might seem favorable to the opposing party.

A statement from the court explained that the judges were assigned by random selection: "The clerk of the court maintains a list of mature cases available for oral argument and on a monthly basis merges those cases with a list of three judge panels provided by a computer program designed to achieve random selection."

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