Federal Appeals Court Fast Tracks Pro-Life Obamacare Lawsuit

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 18, 2011   |   11:14AM   |   Washington, DC

A federal appeals court has fast-tracked one of the many legal challenges to the Obamacare law that pro-life groups opposed because of abortion-funding and rationing concerns.

American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), filed its own federal lawsuit challenging ObamaCare that contends that the Commerce Clause “authorizes Congress to regulate economic activity, not economic decisions.” The pro-life legal group told LifeNews.com late Thursday that it is encouraged that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit granted its motion to expedite its appeal of its legal challenge to the federal health care “reform” law.

“The appeals court clearly understands that this issue is of vital concern and deserves to be expedited,” said Jay Sekulow, the ACLJ chief counsel. “By putting our appeal on the fast-track, the court is sending a strong signal that time is of the essence in determining the constitutionality of this law.  We’re very encouraged that our appeal will move forward quickly ultimately headed for the Supreme Court.  And, we’re confident our position will prevail.”

The ACLJ filed a motion with the appeals court earlier this month urging an expedited appeal. On Thursday, the appeals court granted the ACLJ’s request and set a schedule with the first round of briefs to be filed in May with oral arguments before a three-judge panel to be scheduled in September.

The ACLJ is appealing a decision by a federal district court in February that dismissed its lawsuit.  In its lawsuit, the ACLJ argues that Congress does not have the power under the Constitution to require Americans to purchase health insurance and that the mandate also violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.

The organization also filed an amicus brief representing 28 members of Congress and more than 70,000 Americans supporting the Commonwealth of Virginia’s lawsuit challenging the mandate in federal court in Richmond. The ACLJ also has filed an amicus brief on behalf of 63 members of Congress and more than 70,000 Americans supporting the lawsuit brought by 26 states in the federal court in Florida.

This latest news from the DC Appeals Court follows the filing of legal papers on Monday by Obama administration officials who told the Supreme Court the president doesn’t want it to take up yet the lawsuit one state filed against the controversial health care law.

A Virginia federal judge ruled the individual mandate portion of the Obamacare law invalid in a lawsuit the state filed against the measure and Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, in February, asked the Supreme Court to take an expedited review of the case.

On Monday, the Obama administration asked the high court to stay away from the case until after a federal appeals court has a chance to review the federal judge’s decision and issue its own opinion on whether the law is unconstitutional. Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal says several other lawsuits filed against Obamacare in other states, including the main case in Florida that has been joined by dozens of other states and where a federal judge ruled the entire Obamacare law unconstitutional, are still pending and still should get hearings and decisions from appeals courts.