RICHMOND, Virginia, September 8, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld President Obama’s health care law against two separate challengers on Thursday.

Both cases targeted the mandate in the law that every citizen must purchase health insurance or pay a fine, a provision due to take effect in 2014.

One suit, brought by Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli, was rejected as the court found that Cuccinelli lacked standing to challenge the law, reversing the ruling of a lower federal court.

A second suit ended, according to the Wall Street Journal, with a ruling that the fine attached to the mandate amounted to constitutionally-protected taxation. Reuters reports that the case was dismissed because the penalty has not yet taken effect.

The defeat for Obamacare critics is not the first: in June, the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati ruled that the mandate was constitutional. However, in a case brought against the Obama administration by 26 states, an 11th Circuit Court opinion authored last month by a Democrat-appointed judge ruled against the mandate, marking the biggest setback to the health care law so far.

The battle is expected to almost certainly culminate in a Supreme Court hearing.