Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli yesterday applauded an Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that found parts of the federal health care law unconstitutional. The August 12th ruling in Atlanta affirms in part a lower court in a lawsuit filed by 26 states to overturn the Affordable Care Act, but conflicts with a earlier ruling by another appeals panel in Cincinnati. The case is expected to eventually reach the Supreme Court.
Yesterday’s ruling specifically finds that the individual mandate provision in the law exceeds Congress’s power to regulate commerce. The statement from the Attorney General’s office reads in part:
I am pleased that the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals found the individual insurance mandate and penalty unconstitutional. The court determined that the power to force one citizen to purchase a good or service from another is outside the established outer limits of both the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause. The court also ruled that although the president and Congress want to now call the penalty a tax to make it pass constitutional muster, the penalty cannot be sustained under the federal government’s taxing authority because the penalty is clearly not a tax.
I congratulate our fellow attorneys general in this major victory, and although this court is not in our circuit, I am pleased that the judges ruled in favor of the two key arguments that are present in our Virginia suit.
The Eleventh Circuit panel also overruled the lower court finding that the entire law should be rejected, writing that removing the individual mandate provision “does not prevent the remaining provisions from being fully operative as a law.” Virginia’s case, heard May 10th in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, is still awaiting a ruling.