Court Declares Individual Health Care Mandate Unconstitutional

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia granted summary judgment today in favor of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s legal challenge to the recently enacted federal healthcare overhaul.  The case, Commonwealth of Va. v. Sebelius, arises from Virginia’s constitutional challenge to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), a federal law containing an individual mandate that would require all uninsured Americans, under threat of civil penalty, to purchase health insurance for themselves and their dependents.

The decision was a victory for WLF, which filed a brief in the case on behalf of fourteen constitutional scholars arguing that even the broadest Supreme Court precedents do not give Congress the authority to compel Americans to purchase a product they do not want.  Relying on leading Supreme Court precedent, WLF argued that an individual’s passive status as “uninsured” simply does not implicate the traditional Commerce Clause power because it does not constitute “activity” in interstate commerce.   As a result, both the PPACA’s individual mandate and its penalty provision exceed the outer limits of Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause.  Judge Henry Hudson largely adopted this reasoning in his order today. Continue reading “Court Declares Individual Health Care Mandate Unconstitutional”

Last Week At WLF

New Amicus Brief:

Litigation Updates:

  • Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes
    On December 6, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review a lower-court decision that certified a massive class action against retailer Wal-Mart. The suit was filed by a small number of female Wal-Mart employees who claim that the company denied them equal pay and opportunities for promotion. But the trial court has certified them as representatives of a class of 1.6 million current and former female employees. The decision to review the case was a victory for WLF, which filed a brief urging that review be granted.
  • Sottera, Inc. v. FDA
    On December 7, 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit struck down a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) effort to broaden its own jurisdiction by expansively interpreting what is meant by a “medical device.” The court ruled that Congress did not intend to permit FDA to regulate electronic cigarettes (or “e-cigarettes”) as medical devices. The decision was a victory for WLF, which filed a brief opposing FDA’s regulatory efforts.
  • Al-Aulaqi v. Obama
    On December 7, 2010, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed an ACLU lawsuit that challenged a reported decision by the federal government to attempt to kill a U.S. citizen (and senior al Qaeda leader) living in Yemen. The court agreed with WLF that the case raised political questions that were not properly decided by the federal courts.

From The Legal Pulse: