WASHINGTON, May 16, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), focusing on constitutional law, today urged a federal appeals court to reinstate its federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of ObamaCare. The ACLJ's suit was dismissed by a federal district court in February. A brief filed today urges the appeals court to reverse the lower court decision and declare the individual mandate unconstitutional and a violation of the religious beliefs of several of the plaintiffs.
"Without question, the health care law oversteps the authority of Congress and ultimately must be declared unconstitutional," said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. "We believe the federal district court erred in dismissing our suit and we're urging the appeals court to reinstate our lawsuit. We're urging the appeals court to strike down the law because the individual mandate provision – requiring Americans to purchase health insurance – is a brazen power-grab by Congress – a provision that renders the entire law unpalatable and unconstitutional."
The ACLJ represents four U.S. residents and federal taxpayers in its appeal: Susan Seven-Sky from New York, and three Texas residents – Charles "Eddie" Lee, Kenneth Ruffo, and Gina Rodriguez.
The ACLJ's amended complaint argues that the individual mandate violates the Commerce Clause of the Constitution and also violates the rights of two of the plaintiffs under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA).
In its brief filed today with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the ACLJ argues:
"The individual mandate is unconstitutional because it exceeds even the outermost bounds of Congress's Article I authority and is inconsistent with the constitutional system of dual sovereignty that divides power between the federal and State governments," the brief contends. "Under the Commerce Clause, Congress cannot 'regulate' inactivity by requiring individuals to buy a good or service as a condition of their lawful residence in the United States. . ."
Further, the brief argues, the individual mandate violates the constitutional rights of two of the plaintiffs under RFRA.
"Furthermore, the individual mandate violates RFRA as applied to Plaintiffs Seven-Sky and Lee," the brief argues. "The Amended Complaint sets forth a plausible claim that the individual mandate substantially burdens their religious exercise by requiring them to either indefinitely maintain health insurance, which they sincerely believe would violate their religious belief that God will protect them from illness or injury, or pay annual penalties for declining to violate their faith."
The ACLJ is actively backing legal challenges by Florida and Virginia as well. The ACLJ filed an amicus brief on behalf of 74 members of Congress and more than 70,000 Americans at the 11th Circuit on behalf of Florida's challenge. Also, the ACLJ filed an amicus brief at the 4th Circuit on behalf of 49 members of Congress backing Virginia's lawsuit.
Led by Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow, the American Center for Law and Justice focuses on constitutional law and is based in Washington, D.C. The ACLJ is online at www.aclj.org.
For Print: Gene Kapp (757) 575-9520
For Broadcast: Christy Lynn Wilson or Todd Shearer (770) 813-0000
SOURCE American Center for Law and Justice