WASHINGTON, Sept. 23, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) today urged a federal appeals court to reinstate its lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of ObamaCare arguing that the individual mandate, which forces Americans to purchase health insurance, violates the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.
"We're encouraged that the appeals court engaged the issues we presented concerning the constitutional problems with ObamaCare," said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. "Our argument was clear: both the Constitution and Supreme Court precedent point to the fact that the health care law oversteps the authority of Congress. We're hopeful that the appeals court will act on behalf of our clients and millions of Americans who understand that ObamaCare is not only a bad health care law, but one that is unconstitutional as well."
In a hearing before a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, ACLJ Senior Counsel Edward White, who presented oral arguments, argued that the individual mandate exceeds the constitutional authority granted to Congress and violates the Commerce Clause. The appeals court raised several areas of concern about the constitutionality of the individual mandate in questioning about the powers of Congress. If the Commerce Clause gives Congress the authority to mandate the purchase of health insurance, the appeals court asked the government, where does Congressional authority end?
In a brief filed with the appeals court before today's hearing, the ACLJ argued:
"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. . . ."
In February, a federal district court dismissed the ACLJ's lawsuit challenging ObamaCare. In today's argument, White urged the appeals court to reinstate the lawsuit and declare the individual mandate unconstitutional.
In addition to its legal action, 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.
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SOURCE American Center for Law and Justice