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Federal Court Tosses Lawsuit Over Health Reform

A federal appeals court in Virginia dismissed two lawsuits Thursday that had challenged the constitutionality of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

The three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in both lawsuits one filed by Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli, the other by Liberty University that the plaintiffs did not have standing to sue. The court did not delve into the constitutional issues.

The Richmond-based appeals court is the third appellate court to rule in lawsuits challenging the health care reform law, which requires individuals to buy health insurance or pay a penalty. A federal appeals court in Cincinnati also upheld the law, but an appeals court in Atlanta struck down the insurance mandate.

Two of the judges on the Virginia panel were appointed by Obama,
the other by Bill Clinton.

The attorney general and Liberty claimed the insurance mandate was unconstitutional. In his challenge, Cuccinelli claimed standing because the federal law conflicts with a state law that says no Virginian can be compelled to buy insurance. The appeals court rejected that claim. More than 30 lawsuits have been filed over the law. The U.S. Supreme Court will have the final say.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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