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Middle District PA - Memorandum and Order Holding Health Care Mandate Unconstitutional

Middle District PA - Memorandum and Order Holding Health Care Mandate Unconstitutional

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Published by: Legal Insurrection on Sep 13, 2011
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Congress undoubtedly has the power to regulate the national health care

services and health insurance markets. See United States v. S.E. Underwriters

Ass’n, 322 U.S. 533, 552-53 (1944). At issue is the means by which Congress has

chosen to regulate and reform those markets. Fundamentally, the Health Care Act

presents novel questions about the scope of Congress’s power under the Commerce

Clause and how that power conflicts with the principles of federalism upon which

this nation was founded. The individual mandate represents an unprecedented use

of Commerce Clause powers. However, the unprecedented nature of the individual

mandate does not render it constitutionally suspect ab initio. To the contrary, the

court, according “[d]ue respect for the decisions of a coordinate branch of

Government,” begins with the presumption that the Act, passed by Congress, is

constitutional. United States v. Morrison, 529 U.S. 598, 607 (2000); id. (stating that a

court should “invalidate a congressional enactment only upon a plain showing that

Congress has exceeded its constitutional bounds”); see also United States v. Whited,

311 F.3d 259, 266 (3d Cir. 2002); United States v. Bishop, 66 F.3d 569, 576 (3d Cir.

1995) (“[The court] . . . must give substantial deference to a Congressional


Case 1:10-cv-00763-CCC Document 63 Filed 09/13/11 Page 8 of 52

determination that it had the power to enact particular legislation.”). But see Va.

Office for Prot. and Advocacy v. Stewart, --- U.S. ---, 131 S. Ct. 1632, 1641 (2011)

(“Lack of historical precedent can indicate a constitutional infirmity.” (citing Free

Enter. Fund v. Pub. Co. Accounting Oversight Bd., --- U.S. ---, 130 S. Ct. 3138, 3159-

60 (2010))); Printz v. United States, 521 U.S. 898, 905, 907-08, 918 (1997) (stating that

an absence of power might reasonably be inferred from the utter lack of statutes

imposing similar obligations).

The Bachmans raise a facial challenge to the individual mandate provision of

the Act. Their burden is substantial. To succeed, the Bachmans must establish

that “no set of circumstances exist under which the Act would be valid.” United

States v. Salerno, 481 U.S. 739, 745 (1987); see also Wash. State Grange v. Wash.

State Republican Party, 552 U.S. 442, 449 (2008).


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