With today’s announcement that the Supreme Court will hear a challenge to the consitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, comes a petition from 105 congressmen to have the law overturned.
The legislators – including presidential hopefuls Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas – are represented by the American Center for Law and Justice, a pro-life legal group that has challenged Obamacare since its passage.
“This is the day we have been waiting for,” said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the ACLJ, in a statement. “It was clear that Obamacare would ultimately be decided by the high court when it was signed into law nearly 20 months ago. By taking these cases, the high court can bring clarity and end the confusion about a law that most Americans have consistently opposed.”
Just weeks ago, the ACLJ filed the legislators’ brief asking the Supreme Court to hear the case against Obamacare brought by Florida and 25 other states. The ACLJ is now preparing a friend-of-the-court brief to file with the Supreme Court in the cases granted today.
“We have argued from the beginning that Obamacare – including the individual mandate – is unconstitutional,” Sekulow said. “It’s our hope that the high court will reach the conclusion that the individual mandate, which forces Americans to purchase insurance, violates the Constitution and that the entire health-care law cannot be implemented.”
The Supreme Court announced today it will hear the case next March, including an extraordinary 5 1/2 hours of testimony, with an expected ruling in July, only months before the 2012 elections.
The last time in the modern era the court allotted anything near that much time for arguments, the Associated Press reports, was in 2003 for consideration of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform. That case consumed four hours of argument.
The high court will specifically hear an appeal brought by the White House of an 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that the individual mandate portion of the law is unconstitutional but that the rest of the law may stand.
The White House wants to see the mandate reinstated, while the congressmen and ACLJ believe the entire law must be ruled unconstitutional.
The AP reports a White House spokesman said, “We are pleased that the court has agreed to hear this case.”
“We know the Affordable Care Act is constitutional and are confident the Supreme Court will agree,” communications direct Dan Pfeiffer said in a statement.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, however, called the law an “unprecedented and unconstitutional expansion of the federal government into the daily lives of every American.”
“In both public surveys and at the ballot box, Americans have rejected the law’s mandate that they must buy government-approved health insurance, and I hope the Supreme Court will do the same,” McConnell said.
Various courts around the country have thus far been divided on Obamacare, with appeals courts in Cincinnati and Washington, D.C., upholding the law, while the 11th Circuit Court in Atlanta struck part of it down.
The ACLJ vows to up their efforts to make sure the Supreme Court rules against Obamacare once and for all.
“With a decision by the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of ObamaCare now just months away, we will adding more members of Congress and concerned Americans to our amicus brief,” said Sekulow. “What’s clear is that opposition to ObamaCare continues to grow – in the halls of Congress and in the public arena.”