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'Superstar Conservative' Judge Writes Opinion Upholding Health Care Law

Nov 8, 2011

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Mark Memmott

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"An appeals court judge appointed by President Ronald Reagan just wrote an opinion affirming the constitutionality of the federal law overhauling health care," our colleague Scott Hensley writes over at the Shots blog.

As Scott adds, "that makes three appeals court decisions in favor of the law and one against, if you're keeping track."

And as NPR's Julie Rovner notes on the NPR Newscast, the fact that the author of the court's opinion is Judge Laurence Silberman — a "superstar conservative" and close friend of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas — leads some supporters of the so-called individual mandate to think his reasoning might influence the High Court's conservative justices when they consider the law's constitutionality later this year.

"The right to be free from federal regulation is not absolute, and yields to the imperative that Congress be free to forge national solutions to national problems, no matter how local — or seemingly passive — their individual origins," the opinion reads.

The Wall Street Journal adds that "the D.C. Circuit's rulings traditionally get particularly close attention from the Supreme Court, in part because four of the justices — including Chief Justice John Roberts — previously sat in that circuit.

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