ACLJ Files Amicus Brief in VA Case on Behalf of 49 Members of Congress
By Hadley Heath
The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) has just filed an amicus brief in the Virginia case, which is now on appeal. “Amicus” is Latin for friend, so on this brief, we see that the Ken Cuccinelli and the Commonwealth of Virginia have some amici in high places: It represents 49 members of Congress including House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. The main thrust of the brief is that the appeals court should declare ObamaCare – in its entirety – unconstitutional.
From the ACLJ press release:
"As the legal challenges to ObamaCare move forward, there's one central argument that we're confident will win the day - the mandate forcing individuals to purchase health care insurance is unconstitutional," said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. "In the Virginia case, the federal district court got it right - forcing someone to buy health insurance is not economic activity and Congress does not have that authority under the Commerce Clause. We believe the federal district court should have gone one step further in declaring entire health care law - not just the individual mandate - unconstitutional. That's what we're asking the appeals court to do."
In December, U.S. District Court Judge Henry E. Hudson in Richmond ruled in favor of Virginia concluding the individual mandate provision "exceeds the constitutional boundaries of congressional power."
In its amicus brief filed today at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, the ACLJ agrees: "The Commerce Clause does not authorize Congress to regulate the inactivity of American citizens by requiring them to buy a good or service (such as health insurance) as a condition of their lawful residence in this country," the brief argues. "Because the individual mandate provision of the PPACA requires citizens to purchase health insurance or be penalized, the PPACA exceeds Congress's authority under the Commerce Clause."
However, the federal district court failed to declare the entire health care law unconstitutional. While the ACLJ urges the appeals court to uphold the earlier decision declaring the mandate unconstitutional, the brief also urges the appeals court to strike down the entire law.
The brief contends: "The individual mandate's unconstitutionality requires the entire PPACA to fall. . . . by the government's admission, the PPACA's remaining provisions cannot function without the individual mandate . . . Consequently, because the individual mandate provision is unconstitutional and not severable from the remainder of the PPACA, the entire PPACA must be held invalid."
The amicus brief is posted here. The ACLJ represents itself as well as 49 members of Congress, including House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. The brief is also filed on behalf of the ACLJ's Constitutional Committee to Challenge the President and Congress on Health Care, which consists of over 70,000 Americans from across the country who oppose the individual mandate.
Here's a list of members of the U.S. House of Representatives of the 112th Congress who have signed on to the ACLJ brief including Rep. Paul Broun, a physician, who spearheaded the Member support for the brief: Paul Broun, Robert Aderholt, Todd Akin, Michele Bachmann, Spencer Bachus, Roscoe Bartlett, Rob Bishop, John Boehner, Larry Bucshon, Dan Burton, Francisco “Quico” Canseco, Eric Cantor, Steve Chabot, Mike Conaway, Blake Farenthold, John Fleming, Bill Flores, Randy Forbes, Virginia Foxx, Trent Franks, Scott Garrett, Louie Gohmert, Ralph Hall, Tim Huelskamp, Bill Johnson, Walter Jones, Mike Kelly, Steve King, Jack Kingston, John Kline, Doug Lamborn, Jeff Landry, James Lankford, Robert Latta, Donald Manzullo, Thaddeus McCotter, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Gary Miller, Jeff Miller, Randy Neugebauer, Steve Pearce, Mike Pence, Joe Pitts, Mike Pompeo, Scott Rigell, Phil Roe, Ed Royce, Lamar Smith, and Tim Walberg.
At the same time, the ACLJ is pursuing its own legal challenge of ObamaCare and has been granted expedited review of its appeal by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit after its lawsuit was dismissed by a federal district court. The order granting the ACLJ's request to fast track the appeal is posted here. The ACLJ's lawsuit is posted here.
Further, the ACLJ filed an amicus brief on behalf of 63 members of Congress and more than 70,000 Americans supporting the lawsuit brought by 26 states in the federal court in Florida.