Further making it likely the U.S. Supreme Court will take up the health-care case this term, the Justice Department says it will urge the court to take an appeal of the challenge brought by Florida and 26 other states.
"The Department has consistently and successfully defended this law in several court of appeals, and only the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled it unconstitutional. We believe the question is appropriate for review by the Supreme Court," the Justice Department says in a statement.
"Throughout history, there have been similar challenges to other landmark legislation such as the Social Security Act, the Civil Rights Act, and the Voting Rights Act, and all of those challenges failed. We believe the challenges to Affordable Care Act -- like the one in the 11th Circuit -- will also ultimately fail and that the Supreme Court will uphold the law," it says.
White House adviser Stephanie Cutter writes a lengthy blog post on the White House website, defending the decision, entitled, "Obama Administration Asks Supreme Court to Hear Health Care Lawsuit."
"There has been no shortage of lawsuits regarding the Affordable Care Act," Cutter writes. "Of course, whenever our nation is undertaking fundamental reform, legal challenges like this are nothing new. Just as challenges to the Social Security Act, the Civil Rights Act, and the Voting Rights Act all failed, challenges to health reform are failing as well. ... We know the Affordable Care Act is constitutional. We are confident the Supreme Court will agree."