SCOTUS Sets Dates for Obamacare Individual Mandate Oral Hearings

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has set dates for Oral arguments on Obamacare’s  Individual mandate.  The lawsuit was filed by Florida and two dozen other states stating that the law, which requires individuals to purchase health insurance is unconstitutional.  The law could also fund abortions with taxpayer dollars.   The Supreme Court has set aside five and a half hours of hearings between March 26 and March 28.

SCOTUS Schedule:

March 26th – An hour has been set aside to hear an hour of argument over whether a Reconstruction-era federal statute, the Anti-Injunction Act, bars the justices from making a decision on the individual mandate’s constitutionality until after the provision goes into effect in 2014.

The Anti-Injunction Act, 28 U.S.C.§ 2283, is a United States federal statute that prohibits any federal court from issuing an injunction against proceedings in any state court, except within three specifically defined exceptions. The Act was enacted on March 2, 1793 as Section 5 of the Judiciary Act of 1793, to alleviate states’ fears of federal power.

The current language of the Act states:

A court of the United States may not grant an injunction to stay proceedings in a state court except as expressly authorized by Act of Congress, or where necessary in aid of its jurisdiction, or to protect or effectuate its judgments.

A body of case law has grown with respect to the questions of what constitutes an express authorization; what is necessary in aid of jurisdiction; and what constitutes protection or effectuation of a judgment. Cases have also hinged on questions of what orders constitute an injunction by the federal court against the state court.

Among the statutes recognized as express authorization to grant an injunction under the first exception is Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act. The second exception is used in two areas: to prevent state courts from continuing to hear matters which have been removed to federal court, as well as to permit federal courts to enjoin state suits in cases of real property dispute where a federal claim is filed first. It is relatively rare in application. The third exception is used to prevent parties who have lost in federal litigation from seeking hearing of their cases in state court.  Wikepedia 

March 27th  This will be the main event.  The court will take up the constitutionality of the health care law’s minimum coverage requirement.  The provision requires virtually every American to purchase health insurance under the threat of a penalty.  Two hours have been set aside for the arguments.   The States argue that Congress’ passage of the individual mandate exceeded the legislature’s powers to regulate interstate commerce or lay and collect taxes under Article I of the Constitution.

March 28th  90 minutes have been set aside to determine if the individual mandate is so central the Affordable Health Act that the complete law must be scrapped.  An additional hour of argument will address 26 states’ claim that the law improperly expands Medicaid by coercively conditioning states’ receipt of federal funds on their participation in the new health care exchange system.

The case comes from appeal by the Obama administration of a federal appeals court rulingstriking down Obamacare.

In January, a federal judge in Florida issued a ruling in what is the

largest lawsuit filed against the Obamacare health care law. U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson said the individual mandate is unconstitutional and, therefore, the entire law is as well.

The Obama administration appealed the decision to the U.S. Appeals Court based in Atlanta, Georgia. Judge Vinson did not stop the implementation of the law pending the appeal which could take two years to reach the Supreme Court and result in a decision. At the appeals court level, the court ruled Obamacare’s individual mandate is unconstitutional, calling it “an unprecedented exercise of congressional power.”

“The appeals court got it right and the decision represents a critical step forward in undoing ObamaCare,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ, which is involved in litigation challenging ObamaCare. “The individual mandate, which forces Americans to purchase health insurance, exceeds the authority of the Commerce Clause. We’re delighted that the appeals court recognized that fact. While the appeals court did not declare the entire law unconstitutional, by striking the individual mandate, the entire law is clearly in jeopardy. We remain hopeful that the Supreme Court will ultimately declare the entire health care law unconstitutional.”

Regardless of the outcome of the case, every GOP presidential candidate has vowed that they would repeal Obamacare if elected.


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Karl Gotthardt - Politisite Managing Editor Maj. Gotthardt is a Retired Military Officer with 35 years service in the Canadian Armed Forces. He spent most of his time in the Military in Infantry Battalions. Karl took part in training for Afghanistan as an Operator Analyst with the Canadian Maneouvre Training Centre. Karl is a qualified military parachutist and military free fall parachutist. He earned his U.S. Master Jump Wings in Fort Benning, Georgia. Karl enjoys working with horses for the last 24 year. He owns six. He has experience in breeding, training and of course riding.Karl was born in Germany and is fluent in both English and German and he speaks enough French to "get in trouble". Karl has written or writes at NowPublic, All Voices, Tek Journalism and many others.

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