WASHINGTON, DC, November 14, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Supreme Court announced this morning that it would hear arguments in the first lawsuit against ObamaCare to reach the high court.
Florida et al v. United States Department of Health and Human Services was filed by the Attorney General of Florida on March 23, 2010, the day Obama’s health care bill was signed into law.
In August, the 11th Circuit court of appeals ruled in favor of Florida and the 25 other states that had joined the suit, upholding an earlier decision by a Florida judge that found aspects of the law unconstitutional.
The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in March on the Obama Administration’s appeal of the 11th Circuit decision. A decision is expected by July.
The primary issue driving the legal challenge is the law’s “individual mandate,” the requirement that all Americans purchase a health insurance plan by 2014. However, pro-life advocates have also opposed the law because it opens the door to a massive increase in taxpayer funding of abortion and undermines conscience rights.
Pro-life advocates received confirmation of these fears this fall, when the Department of Health and Human Services issued a directive stating that under Obamacare all employers must pay for all forms of contraception, including abortifacient drugs like Ella and Plan B. The directive only provides for a very narrow exception that will allow a small number of religious organizations to be exempt.
The conservative American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) filed a brief with the Supreme Court last month arguing that the court should rule not simply on the individual mandate as the 11th Circuit had done, but on the entire law.
In a statement released this morning, Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ, said that the organization would be filing another amicus brief representing “more than 100 members of Congress and tens of thousands of Americans.”
“It was clear that ObamaCare would ultimately be decided by the high court when it was signed into law nearly 20 months ago. By taking these cases, the high court can bring clarity and end the confusion about a law that most Americans have consistently opposed,” Sekulow said. “It’s our hope that the high court will reach the conclusion that the individual mandate, which forces Americans to purchase insurance, violates the constitution and that the entire health care law cannot be implemented.”
The Florida case has been the most successful of the many legal challenges that have flooded the courts since the law was passed.
Earlier this month, a U.S. Appeals Court ruled against the ACLJ in its own lawsuit against Obamacare.
A federal court also ruled in September that Virginia lacked standing to challenge the law, after the state filed a lawsuit. A challenge by the Thomas More Law Center, a pro-life law firm, was also unsuccessful, ending in a 6th Circuit ruling that upheld the constitutionality of the health care reform package.