Appeals Court Urged to Uphold Florida Anti-Obamacare Decision

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 5, 2011   |   3:35PM   |   Washington, DC

The American Center for Law and Justice, a pro-life legal group that is deeply involved in challenging the pro-abortion Obamacare health care law, today filed an amicus brief representing 74 members of Congress in one of the major cases.

The brief urges a federal appeals court to uphold a lower court ruling that declared ObamaCare unconstitutional in the multi-state lawsuit headed by Florida.

“This is a case where the federal district court got it right,” said Jay Sekulow, the ACLJ’s chief counsel. “The fact is that the individual mandate – forcing Americans to purchase health care insurance – violates the Commerce Clause, giving Congress power to act beyond its constitutional authority.”

He told LifeNews: “Further, the individual mandate provision is tied directly to the health care law – meaning if the mandate is unconstitutional, the entire law must be thrown out.  We’re confident that the appeals court will reach the same conclusion  – one more legal step on the road to the Supreme Court, where we’re hopeful the high court will put an end to this government-run, pro-abortion health care law once and for all.”

The ACLJ today filed its amicus brief in support of the Florida lawsuit challenging the Obama care law, which contains loopholes allowing abortion funding and rationing concerns, on behalf of the members of Congress, including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and more than 70,000 Americans who signed on to ACLJ’s Constitutional Committee to Challenge the President & Congress on Health Care, which opposes the individual mandate.

In its filing with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, the ACLJ brief asserts:  “The Commerce Clause does not authorize Congress to regulate the inactivity of American citizens by compelling them to buy a good or service (such as health insurance) as a condition of their lawful residence in this country or pay a penalty.  Because the individual mandate requires citizens to purchase health insurance or be penalized, the PPACA exceeds Congress’s Constitutional authority.”

Further, the brief argues that since the mandate is unconstitutional, the entire law must be declared unconstitutional.

“Because the individual mandate is a foundation of the PPACA’s overall operation, Congress could not have intended the individual mandate to be severable from the rest of the PPACA,” the brief adds.  “In fact, it is fair to say that without the individual mandate, there would be no PPACA.  These observations, along with the fact that Congress deleted a severability provision from an earlier version of the national health care reform legislation, lead only to one conclusion:  the individual mandate is not severable from the PPACA’s remaining provisions.”

In January, a federal judge in Florida issued a ruling in what is the largest lawsuit filed against the Obamacare health care law. U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson said the individual mandate is unconstitutional and, therefore, the entire law is as well.

The individual mandate is a portion of the law independent and conservative voters most strongly oppose because it requires Americans to purchase health insurance, that could fund abortions with taxpayer funds or premiums, whether they want to or not. The case the state of Florida and more than two dozen others made to Judge Vinson is that the individual mandate is unconstitutional and the Constitution does not allow Congress to regular financial inactivity.

“Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire Act must be declared void,” the judge wrote. “This has been a difficult decision to reach, and I am aware that it will have indeterminable implications. At a time when there is virtually unanimous agreement that health care reform is needed in this country, it is hard to invalidate and strike down a statute titled ‘The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.’”

“Regardless of how laudable its attempts may have been to accomplish these goals in passing the act, Congress must operate within the bounds established by the Constitution,” the judge wrote. “This case is not about whether the Act is wise or unwise legislation. It is about the Constitutional role of the federal government.”

“Congress exceeded the bounds of its authority in passing the Act with individual mandate,” he added.

The Obama administration is appealing the decision to the U.S. Appeals Court based in Atlanta, Georgia. Judge Vinson did not stop the implementation of the law pending the appeal which could take two years to reach the Supreme Court and result in a decision.