Obamacare, the president’s signature law that requires Americans to buy the health insurance that the government specifies, is on its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Following this week’s split ruling from the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals that it is constitutional, the Thomas More Law Center immediately announced plans to move it up to the highest court in the land.
“If this decision is allowed to stand, we will no longer have a limited federal government of enumerated powers or even a representative form of government – we will have congressional tyranny,” said Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel of the law center.
Graphic of Obamacare posted by House Speaker John Boehner
“Most members of Congress who voted on the act had not even read the 2,000-page bill, and some didn’t care whether it was constitutional. Nancy Pelosi, then speaker of the House, stated that Congress had to pass the bill so that the people could find out what’s in it,” Thompson said.
The 6th Circuit’s decision by a 2-1 margin said it is constitutional for Congress to require payments it demands from Americans for products it wants them to have.
The “Commerce Clause does not acknowledge a constitutional distinction between activity and inactivity,” the majority said. “Further, far from regulating inactivity, the provision regulates active participation in the health care market. … as long as Congress does not exceed the established limits of its commerce power, there is no constitutional impediment to enacting legislation that could be characterized as regulating inactivity.”
The two-judge majority said those who refuse to buy insurance are an obstacle for Congress.
“Self-insuring individuals are attempting to fulfill their own demand for a commodity rather than resort to the market and are thereby thwarting Congress’s efforts to stabilize prices,” the judges opined.
In a strongly worded dissent, Judge James Graham, an appointee of President Ronald Reagan, said, however, “If the exercise of power is allowed and the mandate upheld, it is difficult to see what the limits on Congress’s Commerce Clause authority would be. What aspect of human activity would escape federal power? … To approve the exercise of power would arm Congress with the authority to force individuals to do whatever it sees fit.”
The Thomas More Law Center brought the case against Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and it was the first case of dozens on the controversial proposal decided by a federal appellate court.
The majority included Boyce Martin, an appointee of Jimmy Carter, and Jeffrey Sutton, a George W. Bush appointee.
The law center said it will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review. The center believes the court will review the law, although it may not be decided on the basis of its case. The state of Virginia has a major case over the sweeping federal power grab, as do dozens of states in a coalition that has been working through the courts in Florida.
Graham noted, “To the fatalistic view that Congress will always prevail and courts should step back and let the people, if offended, speak through their political representatives, I say that ‘courts were designed to be an intermediate body between the people and the legislature, in order, among other things, to keep the latter within the limits assigned to their authority.’ … In this arena, the ‘public force’ is entrusted to the courts.”
Robert Muise, the law center’s senior trial counsel who argued the case said, “This decision must be reversed by the Supreme Court. By granting Congress such broad powers under the Commerce Clause, the appellate court has created a new kind of power not previously known to the jurisprudence, which effectively grants the federal government state police power, thereby rendering any notion of the constitutionally mandated federalism dead letter law. This is a dangerous precedent.”
Obama’s plan, which effectively nationalizes health-care decision-making, “represents an unprecedented encroachment on the liberty of all Americas, including plaintiffs, by imposing unprecedented governmental mandates that restrict their personal and economic freedoms,” the law center argued in its appeal brief.
It continued, “When Congress acts beyond those limits, as here, the judicial branch must exercise its authority as the guardian of our Constitution and enjoin the illicit acts. For the first time in our history, Congress has cited the Commerce Clause as authority to regulate a man or woman sitting in the privacy of his or her own home doing absolutely nothing but ‘living’ and ‘breathing.’”
Joining in support of the arguments was the American Center for Law and Justice.
“Without question, the individual mandate provision violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution,” said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the ACLJ. “A federal district court in Virginia this week understood that the key provision in Obamacare is constitutionally flawed and is beyond the scope of Congress’s authority. It’s our hope that the federal appeals court in this Michigan case reaches that same conclusion.”
The legal challenges are far from the only resistance to Obamacare. WND has reported that one legislative proposal in Texas called for jail time for enforcing Obamacare.
An analysis of the issue by Michael Maharrey of the Tenth Amendment Center explains that there already is a widespread dissatisfaction across the United States from the mandates of Obamacare.
“The passage of the health care act opened the eyes of many previously apathetic citizens, making them aware of the rapidly expanding scope and influence of the federal government and its intrusiveness into their everyday lives,” he explained.
“They intuitively understand that requiring them to purchase health insurance falls far beyond the powers granted to Congress by the Constitution. Suddenly awake and alarmed by the fact that the federal government has grown so far out of control, and frustrated by what they see as the lack of responsiveness by politicians in D.C., many Americans find themselves looking for answers,” he said.
He noted there are dozens of claims and lawsuits challenging Obamacare.