Ruling Backing HCR Headed for Appellate Court

October 22, 2010 ( – A federal judge in Michigan has cleared the way for a Christian public interest law firm to appeal an earlier order upholding the constitutionality of the health care reform law.

U.S. District Judge George Caram Steeh of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan threw out the plaintiffs’ four remaining claims Thursday at the request of lawyers for both sides. 

The request noted that the plaintiffs, the Thomas More Law Center and three individuals, intend to ask the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, to review Steeh’s earlier order in favor of lawyers from the U.S. Justice Department.  In the order earlier this month, Steeh rebuffed claims that the passage of the tax violated the Constitution’s Commerce clause and that the eventual penalty for not having insurance represents an unconstitutional tax (see Judge Declares HCR Law Constitutional ).The appellate court hears appeals from federal trial courts in Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee.

In the latest ruling, Steeh threw out the remaining claims but gave the plaintiffs the right to refile them later. Issues dismissed include claims health-care reform violated the Tenth Amendment, the Free Exercise Clause and the Fifth Amendment’s Equal Protection and Due Process clauses.

Steeh’s dismissal order helps procedurally expedite the bringing of the case to the 6th Circuit.

Also earlier this month, a federal judge in Florida ruled that parts of a legal challenge to the health-care reform law by 20 states can move forward (see Court Green Lights FL HCR Challenge).