– In an effort to expedite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the constitutionality of the individual mandate provision of the newly enacted health care reform act, today, the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, filed a motion in Federal District Court for a preliminary injunction, requesting the court to enjoin the enforcement of the individual mandate provision of the law. [Click here to read Motion & Brief].
Moments after the health care bill was signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010, TMLC filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of itself and four Michigan residents who object to being forced by the federal government to purchase health care or face a federal penalty. The basis for the lawsuit and the motion is that Congress exceeded its authority under the Constitution by mandating that private citizens purchase health care coverage or face a penalty.
Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel for TMLC, commented, “If Congress can use the Commerce Clause to force people to purchase insurance based on the mere fact that they exist or face federal penalties, then there is no limit to the power of Congress. Our case is about the constitutional limits of our federal government. Everyone agrees the health care system needs reform. But that doesn’t mean Congress is allowed to violate the Constitution in the process.”
As the Congressional Budget Office noted as early as August 1994, “A mandate requiring all individuals to purchase health insurance would be an unprecedented form of federal action. The government has never required people to buy any good or service as a condition of lawful residence in the United States.” As stated in the papers filed this morning in federal court, “The Health Care Reform Act represents an unprecedented encroachment on the liberty of all Americans . . . by imposing unprecedented governmental mandates that restrict their personal and economic freedoms in violation of the Constitution.”
The lawsuit and this motion are being handled by Robert Muise, TMLC Senior Trial Counsel, and David Yerushalmi, an associated private attorney with law offices in New York, Washington D.C., and Arizona. Under local rules of the court, the government will have 21 days to respond.