Oct. 20, 2011
Kinder ‘cautiously optimistic’ of a favorable ruling
ST. PAUL, Minn. — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit on Thursday (Oct. 20) heard oral arguments in Lt. Governor Peter Kinder’s constitutional challenge to the individual mandate in the federal healthcare law.
Lt. Governor Kinder was represented by prominent constitutional law attorneys Thor Hearne and Robert O’Brien of the Arent Fox Law Firm. Hearne said the judges were “very engaged” and knowledgeable of not just the Missouri case, but of legal challenges brought by other states against the federal healthcare law.
“The Eighth Circuit is taking this case very seriously,” he said.
In July, Lt. Governor Kinder’s challenge garnered the support of 21 states, which filed a brief with the Eighth Circuit supporting the lawsuit. In addition, more than 150 elected executive and legislative officials of states within the Eighth Circuit filed a separate amicus brief in support of the lawsuit’s claims.
Among the state officials are Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, Arkansas Lt. Governor Mark Darr, Missouri House Speaker Steven Tilley, Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer, 127 members of the Missouri Legislature and legislative leaders in the Minnesota House.
Kinder said he was grateful for the opportunity to have his arguments presented to the appeals court judges.
“The arguments went very well, and the judges were highly engaged in the substantive merits of the case,” Kinder said, adding that he was “cautiously optimistic” the judges would rule favorably in the case.
Hearne said the Eighth Circuit panel could decide the case as early as the end of the year. It’s possible, he added, the Supreme Court could then take it up along with other challenges to the healthcare law for consideration in the High Court’s current term.