Obamacare threatened by CIR precedent

May 11, 2011 − by CIR − in Blog, Case Updates − Comments Off on Obamacare threatened by CIR precedent

CIR filed a brief today in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the State of Florida’s challenge to the constitutionality of the Obamacare legislation.  Judge Roger Vinson of the Northern District of Florida had struck down the legislation as unconstitutional, on the ground that Congress had no authority under the Commerce Clause to require individuals to buy health insurance.  The Department of Health and Human Services then appealed this decision to the Eleventh Circuit.

In the district court, Judge Vinson relied heavily in his ruling on a CIR-set Supreme Court precedent, United States v. Morrison.  That case is one of the two major Supreme Court precedents so far that put real limits on Congress’s power to regulate people’s lives under the Commerce Clause of Article I of the U.S. Constitution.  In Morrison, the Court held that Congress’s authority under that clause to regulate interstate commerce did not include the power to regulate an activity that was non-economic.

Building on its success in Morrison, CIR argues in its amicusbrief filed today that Obamacare’s requirement that individuals buy health insurance also is beyond Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause because, to a substantial degree, deciding not to buy health insurance is not an economic activity.

The case is undoubtedly headed for the Supreme Court, which will then have its own opportunity to apply the test of Morrison to Obamacare.

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