February 15, 2012
The Heritage Foundation joined an amicus brief filed in the Supreme Court this week that explains why the procedural abuses that led to the passage of Obamacare and the lack of any meaningful congressional debate over its unconstitutional provisions support the High Court’s duty to strike down the law.
In late March, the Supreme Court will hear arguments challenging the health care law’s constitutionality, including its mandate requiring all individuals to purchase inflated health insurance policies. The mandate forms a key part of the monster 2,500-page bill.
The amicus brief is intended to bolster the case for overturning Obamacare, Heritage legal scholar Todd Gaziano explains on The Foundry:
So what should the High Court do with this mess? It should do its duty, enforce the Constitution, and strike down the law. And what is more, no justice should worry for a second about those in Congress who were not “serious” about their own duty. They have hoist themselves with their own petard.
Gaziano, who was co-counsel on the brief with Heritage scholar and former Attorney General Edwin Meese III, outlines its three key points:
- “The brief argues that it would be wrong for the Supreme Court to defer to the independent judgment of Congress when none was exercised. Several Members of Congress argued that the bill, especially its individual mandate, was unconstitutional, and at least three Members cited the 18-page Heritage analysis of why it was unconstitutional. In response, not only did then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D–CA) mock one reporter’s constitutional question with the ‘Are you serious’ snap, she also said that Members would ‘have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.’ The principal sponsor in the other chamber, Senator Max Baucus (D–MT), also admitted that he wouldn’t ‘waste [his] time to read’ the bill. In sum, the sponsors didn’t even read the bill.”
- “The brief points out all the procedural abuses (remember the budget reconciliation dodge and the various state kickbacks) that were necessary for the sponsors to squeak out a razor-thin, purely partisan margin in each House. The only bipartisan aspect of the bill was the opposition to it. In short, justices need not worry that they are overturning a broad consensus of the American people.”
- “The brief shows that no other major landmark social legislation was passed without wide margins because the sponsors of all those other laws made compromises to address constitutional and other concerns.”
Be sure to read Gaziano’s full summary of the amicus brief on The Foundry.
And be sure to read Heritage’s analysis of why Obamacare is fundamentally unconstitutional and ought to be overturned.
The brief was filed on behalf of the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, the Judicial Education Project, Reason Foundation, The Individual Rights Foundation, The Heritage Foundation, Ending Spending, and Former Senator George LeMieux.
Tell us in the comments: How do you think the Supreme Court should rule on Obamacare’s constitutionality?