Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Westmoreland Submits Friend of the Court Brief Arguing Individual Health Insurance Mandates Unconstitutional

Today, Congressman Westmoreland joined 118 other Members of Congress in submitting an amicus curie brief to the U.S. Supreme Court. The brief asked that the Court uphold the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, which held the individual mandates established in the Affordable Care Act (also known as ObamaCare) as an unconstitutional overreach of federal power. The “friend of the court” brief, as it’s known, argues that the health insurance mandates are not covered directly or in the aggregate under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution (Article 1, Section 8), and are therefore unconstitutional. The Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments on the case the last week in March and is expected to render its decision sometime in June. Below is Congressman Westmoreland’s statement.

“The Founding Fathers drafted our Constitution to ensure the powers delegated to the federal government were defined and limited. In fact, the famous Federalist James Madison wrote in the Federalist Paper #45, ‘The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.’ Unfortunately, over time, big-government politicians and activist judges have dramatically expanded the powers of the federal government. Nowhere is this more evident than in the use of the Commerce Clause, which states, ‘The Congress shall have Power…to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States…’ (U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8). These 16 words have been used to validate tens of thousands of pages regulations and laws imposed on American citizens by the federal government.

“But believe it or not, ObamaCare is the first time in our nation’s history that Congress has used the Commerce Clause to mandate individuals purchase a product from a private company. So with all of the expanded authority given to the federal government through the Commerce Clause since the formation of our republic, never in history have we seen anything like this.

“Whether the president and Congressional Democrats like it or not, they absolutely do not have the constitutional power to mandate American citizens purchase anything. I know that President Obama and Democratic leadership in Congress have become very comfortable over the last several years with completely disregarding the law and doing whatever they see fit. However, I’m hopeful that this time the Supreme Court can step in and stop them from forever altering the powers of the federal government over its citizens by declaring the individual mandates in ObamaCare unconstitutional,” stated Westmoreland.

A copy of the brief can be found at: