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First Obamacare Petition Reaches Supreme Court

Center for Security Policy Counsel files first Obamacare Petition to Reach Supreme Court

Washington, DC, August 2, 2011- The Center for Security Policy today announced that its General Counsel, David Yerushalmi filed a petition last Wednesday in the U. S. Supreme Court, in conjunction with the Thomas More Law Center, asking the highest court in the land to review its constitutional challenge to Obamacare (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act). Mr.Yerushalmi’s and the Law Center’s petition is the first to reach the U.S. Supreme Court following a decision by an appellate court.

Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit was the first appellate court to reach a decision on 1995-136whether the Commerce Clause authorizes Congress to force private citizens to purchase healthcare insurance under penalty of federal law. In a divided opinion, the Sixth Circuit held that it did. 

The Petition for Writ of Certiorari from Mr. Yerushalmi and the Law Center claims: 

“Review is necessary to establish a meaningful limitation on congressional power under the Commerce Clause.” In the Petition, the Law Center warned, “If the Act [Obamacare] is understood to fall within Congress’s Commerce Clause authority, the federal government will have absolute and unfettered power to create complex regulatory schemes to fix every perceived problem imaginable and to do so by ordering private citizens to engage in affirmative acts, under penalty of law…” 

The case, Thomas More Law Center v. Barack Hussein Obama, was the first case filed in federal court to challenge Obamacare. 

On June 29, 2011, in a split 2-1 decision, the Sixth Circuit upheld the constitutionality of Obamacare. Judge Boyce Martin, a Carter appointee and Judge Jeffrey Sutton, a George W. Bush appointee, upheld the individual mandate of the Act under Congress’s Commerce Clause power. Judge James Graham, a Reagan appointee, dissented. 

However, both Judge Sutton and Judge Graham agreed that the Supreme Court needed to address the limits of Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause. Judge Graham wrote, “I believe the [Supreme] Court remains committed to the path laid down by Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justices O’Connor, Scalia, Kennedy, and Thomas to establish a framework of meaningful limitations on congressional power under the Commerce Clause. The current case is an opportunity to prove it so.” And Judge Sutton noted that the Supreme Court should “either stop saying that a meaningful limit on Congress’s commerce powers exists or prove that it is so.” 

In his strongly worded dissent, Judge James Graham reflected the primary concern of both Mr. Yerushalmi and the Law Center and the reason it brought this case in the first instance: “If the exercise of power is allowed and the mandate upheld, it is difficult to see what the limits on Congress’s Commerce Clause authority would be. What aspect of human activity would escape federal power? . . . To approve the exercise of power would arm Congress with the authority to force individuals to do whatever it sees fit. . . .” 

The government now has 30 days from July 27th to file a response, and Mr. Yerushalmi and the Law Center will have approximately 10 days to file a reply. The case will then be submitted to a conference for a decision by the Justices as to whether the petition should be granted. If granted, the case will in all likelihood be briefed, argued, and decided in this upcoming term, with a decision rendered prior to the Court recessing next summer. 

Mr. Yershalmi is the General Counsel for the Center for Security Policy, a non-partisan national security group based in Washington, DC.  He was recently the subject of a laudatory New York Times article profiling his work.  In addition to his work with the Thomas More Law Center, Mr. Yerushalmi is the original author of the model law “American Laws for American Courts (www.publicpolicyalliance.org) and also represents African-American and Muslim-American plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Click Here to Read the Entire Petition for Writ of Certiorari. 

The Center for Security Policy is a non-profit, non-partisan national security organization that specializes in identifying policies, actions, and resource needs that are vital to American security and then ensures that such issues are the subject of both focused, principled examination and effective action by recognized policy experts, appropriate officials, opinion leaders, and the general public.

For more information visit www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org.

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