Thursday, August 18, 2011
With all the to-do this week about the Eleventh Circuit's ruling in State of Florida v. HHS that the individual health insurance mandate in the Affordable Care Act exceeds congressional Commerce Clause power, it was easy to overlook the Ninth Circuit's ruling in Baldwin v. Sebelius last Friday that the plaintiffs lacked standing to challenge the mandate.
The Ninth Circuit's ruling comes just a couple weeks after the Third Circuit denied standing in a similar challenge. But the plaintiff's case in the Ninth Circuit was even weaker. The plaintiffs in Baldwin were an individual and the Pacific Justice Institute. The individual, Baldwin, alleged only that he would have to research whether he'd be covered by the mandate--not that he currently lacks health insurance and would therefore have to purchase it, e.g. The court said this wasn't enough to show a concrete injury in fact.
The court also ruled that the Pacific Justice Institute lacked standing. The court said that the individual mandate doesn't apply to employers, that the Institute failed to allege that it had over 50 employees so as to fall within the employer shared responsibility provision, and that the Institute raised its associational standing claim too late in the game (only in its reply brief).
[Image: Frank Duveneck, Nude Standing, 1892, Wikimedia Commons]