Thursday, January 20, 2011

Fourth Circuit dockets Virginia v. Sebelius

The Fourth Circuit today docketed the case of Virginia v. Sebelius, assigning it the docket number 11-1057. The Commonwealth of Virginia actually filed its own notice of appeal, technically creating a separate case (presumably to appeal Judge Hudson's decision on the remedy--namely, to sever Section 1501(b) from the rest of the ACA and to grant only declaratory relief). The Fourth Circuit today consolidated the two appeals. And it ordered that the United States shall be the appellant, and Virginia the appellee, in the consolidated appeal.

The Fourth Circuit has not yet set any schedule for briefing or oral argument. Nor has it indicated how it will coordinate this case with Liberty University v. Geithner, in which the appellants have already filed their opening brief. Most commentators assume that the two cases will be argued together, before the same three-judge panel, to avoid the possibility of an intracircuit split.