Skip to comments.Obamacare Has Arrived in the Supreme Court
Posted on 09/28/2011 12:24:42 PM PDT by Hunton Peck
The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) stole a march on the Obama Administration this morning by filing a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court appealing the 11th Circuits Obamacare decision.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) had announced on Monday that it was not going to ask all 11 judges of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to review en banc the August 12 decision of a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit that found the individual mandate unconstitutional. This opened up a path to an appeal by DOJ to the Supremes.
However, with this petition, the NFIB jumped ahead of Eric Holders slow-moving DOJ (which until Monday had done everything it could to slow-walk this case filed by 26 states and the NFIB). The NFIB is obviously not appealing the three-judge panels opinion about the unconstitutionality of the individual mandate. But the NFIB is appealing the portion of the panels decision that held that the unconstitutional individual mandate could be severed from the Obamacare legislation.
The NFIB is asking the Court to overrule this holding, since Congress itself deemed [the mandate] essential to the Acts new insurance regulations. Given that the 11th and 6th Circuits have issued directly conflicting final judgments about the facial constitutionality of [Obamacares] mandate, the case is one that the Court should obviously take up given its interest in eliminating conflicting opinions in the courts of appeal.
What also differentiates this particular case from the many other lawsuits that have been filed against Obamacare is the all star lineup of Supreme Court litigators that the NFIB and the 26 states have lined up to argue their case before the Supreme Court. It includes Michael Carvin, a former DOJ official who has argued (and won) numerous cases before the Court; Gregory Katsas, a former DOJ official who was a clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas; Kevin Marshal, another former DOJ official and Thomas clerk; Hashim Mooppan, a former Justice Antonin Scalia clerk; and Randy Barnett, a nationally recognized constitutional scholar and professor at Georgetown.
The lawyers for the states include Paul Clement, former Bush Administration Solicitor General; Lee Casey, another former DOJ official who clerked for Alex Kozinski, who is now the Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit; and David Rivkin, another Supreme Court litigator with wide experience in the government, including in the White House and the DOJ.
The government lawyers in the DOJs Office of the Solicitor General who will be arguing the constitutionality of Obamacare will have their work cut out for them.
“So that means that if the mandate is ruled unconstitutional, the whole act is overturned?”
My understanding is that the lack of a severability clause just gives the court the right to throw out the entire law if one part of it is found unconstitutional. One lower court judge (Vinson of FL) did just that. However, the 11th circuit only struck down the individual mandate, leaving the rest of the law in place. I believe the Supremes have one of 3 choices:
1. Let the entire law stand.
2. Strike down parts of the law-like the individual mandate.
3. Strike down the entire law.
Because there is no severability clause(and this was the case because they had to pass the Senate version of the bill, which was written in a hurry just before Christmas 2009 and was meant to be just a draft, but they could not amend it after Scott Brown’s election in January 2010), the Supremes should find it much easier and more justifiable to go with option #3.
A great rant. Thanks for your response.
The NFIB finally jumped the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; they were caught sleeping with the Democrats.
Judge Vinson in the district court vacated the entire law because of the unconstitutional mandate and sever-ability. The 11th Circuit, then, vacated the mandate but left the rest of the law intact. The SCOTUS is considering sever-ability. The ruling will determine whether the law remains or is vacated entirely.
National referendum on this one, please!
Didn’t mean to butt in... Just letting you know you’re not alone.
This isn’t what Holder and/or Barry wanted to happen. Now with our side doing this as Rush said yesterday, it is now speeded up at the USSC.