ACLJ to Appeals Court: Reinstate ObamaCare Lawsuit - Legal Challenge "Grounded in the Constitution"
(Washington, DC) – The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) today once again urged a federal appeals court to reinstate its lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of ObamaCare saying its position is "grounded in the Constitution" along with Supreme Court precedent. In a reply brief filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the ACLJ contends the arguments put forth by the Department of Justice "lack support in the text, history, or related Supreme Court jurisprudence of the Commerce or Necessary and Proper Clauses" of the U.S. Constitution.
"We look forward to presenting our arguments before the appeals court in September and remain confident that our lawsuit challenging ObamaCare will be reinstated," said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. "The Constitution and Supreme Court precedent are clear: the health care law oversteps the authority of Congress. The individual mandate, requiring Americans to purchase health insurance, is at the heart of this law. It is constitutionally flawed and we believe ultimately will render the entire health care law unconstitutional."
The ACLJ's reply brief, posted here, rejects the Justice Department's position that the individual mandate is constitutionally permissible under the Commerce Clause.
The ACLJ's reply brief argues the individual mandate is unconstitutional: "There is no American tradition of forcing unwilling individuals to operate a business or buy a good or service in the name of 'regulating commerce,' and it is not a coincidence that the Supreme Court's Commerce Clause cases upholding regulation under the 'substantial effects' test have involved the regulation of ongoing commercial or economic activities, unlike Section 1501. Nothing in law or logic supports Defendants' novel extension of this federal regulatory authority to mere inaction, decisions, or thought processes that relate to an economic topic."
"Defendants' arguments based on the Commerce and Necessary and Proper Clauses are flawed and lack legal support," the brief asserts.
The ACLJ also contends that the Department of Justice has done nothing to demonstrate that the constitutional rights of two of the plaintiffs have not been violated by the individual mandate provision under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).
The reply brief contends: "Defendants have not shown that Plaintiffs Lee and Seven-Sky failed to sufficiently allege that Section 1501 substantially burdens their religious exercise, nor have Defendants shown that the individual mandate, as applied to Lee and Seven-Sky, is the least restrictive means of furthering a compelling governmental interest."
In its initial brief filed in May urging the appeals court to reverse a lower court decision, 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. . . ."
In February, a federal district court dismissed the ACLJ's lawsuit challenging ObamaCare in which the ACLJ represents four U.S. residents and federal taxpayers: Susan Seven-Sky from New York, and three Texas residents - Charles "Eddie" Lee, Kenneth Ruffo, and Gina Rodriguez.
The federal appeals court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the case on September 23, 2011.
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.
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.