WASHINGTON, August 12, 2011 ( – In a major blow to the Obama administration, an appeals court on Friday sided with 26 U.S. attorneys general who say the president’s health care law is unconstitutional for forcing U.S. citizens to purchase health insurance.

The decision came from a 3-judge panel of the Atlanta, Ga.-based 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, and was split 2-1 against the mandate.

“This economic mandate represents a wholly novel and potentially unbounded assertion of congressional authority: the ability to compel Americans to purchase an expensive health insurance product they have elected not to buy, and to make them re-purchase that insurance product every month for their entire lives,” stated the opinion as quoted by Reuters.

Politico notes that this is the first ruling against the law by a judge appointed by a Democrat.

Former President Bill Clinton appointed Judge Frank Hull, who on Friday joined the opinion of Chief Judge Joel Dubina, a George H.W. Bush appointee.

The Obama administration may either call on the full appeals court to review the ruling, or appeal directly to the Supreme Court, a decision due within 90 days.

The same law awaits a ruling in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in a lawsuit brought by the state of Virginia.