Politico’s Jennifer Haberkorn reports the disappointing news that the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the State of Virginia lacks the standing to sue the federal government over the Obama health-care law. The decision was based on a procedural question over the right to sue, and therefore does not change the high likelihood that this issue will be decided by the Supreme Court. Fortunately, it also appears as if the decision will not help the Obama administration bolster its legal case against the individual mandate. As Haberkorn reports, “The legal victories might not provide the administration with much political ammunition against the law’s critics, though, since the rulings didn’t focus on the merits of the law.”
Despite its conservative reputation, the Fourth Circuit has been moving to the left over the last half-decade or so, a drift confirmed by this latest opinion. All three judges on the case were Democratic appointees, so the decision does not give us much insight into how the Supreme Court will rule when (and if, to be technical) it takes up the case.