Supreme Court Ruling On 'ObamaCare' Dismays Mountain States Legal Foundation

By William Perry Pendley

DENVER - A western, nonprofit, public-interest legal foundation with decades of experience addressing constitutional issues at the Supreme Court of the United States and the federal courts of appeals on June 28 expressed dismay at the 5-4 ruling of the Supreme Court reversing a ruling by the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upholding the holding by a Florida federal district court that the individual mandate in the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" is unconstitutional (National Federation of Independent Business, et al. v. Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, et al., Nos. 11-393, 11-398 and 11-400, U.S. Sup. [enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers]).      

Instead, the Court held the law constitutional under Congress's power to tax. Mountain States Legal Foundation (MSLF), which argued in its amicus curiae briefs filed in federal district courts and courts of appeals-for its members across the country-that the individual mandate, which requires all Americans to buy healthcare insurance or pay a fine, is unconstitutional, urged the Supreme Court to grant certiorari and then urged the Court to uphold the lower court rulings, including the ruling that the unconstitutional provision requires that the entire law be declared void.

"We are pleased the Court held the law violates the Commerce Clause and Necessary and Proper Clause but shocked by the perversion that the fine is a tax and the law thus lawful," said William Perry Pendley, MSLF president.

Since ObamaCare became law in March 2010, several lawsuits have been filed to challenge its constitutionality; most notable among them are the lawsuit filed by twenty seven States, as well as other plaintiffs, led by Florida, and the lawsuit filed by Virginia. All challenge the individual mandate, as well as other provisions, as conflicting with the Constitution.

During the national debate regarding ObamaCare, Speaker Pelosi said memorably, regarding the 1,000 pages of legislation that nearly no one had read, "[W]e have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it . . . ." Over the last six months, a bill that the American people thought was bad (54% opposed its passage) has become the law that is worse than they had imagined (67% of "mainstream voters" today demand that it be repealed).

Prior to its enactment, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) claimed that the statute would be revenue neutral; however, in the days and months since, the CBO is less sanguine about its impact on the economy. Moreover, recent responses of the marketplace and small businesses reflect a belief that ObamaCare spells disaster for the U.S. economy and for businesses.

MSLF argues that America's embrace of limited government of specific enumerated powers began in the pre-Revolutionary Days, continued through the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, and has been upheld by the federal judiciary, including the U.S. Supreme Court.

Mountain States Legal Foundation, created in 1977, is a nonprofit, public-interest legal foundation dedicated to individual liberty, the right to own and use property, limited and ethical government, and the free enterprise system. Its offices are in suburban Denver.

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