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Sep 29 2011

Justice Department Asks Supreme Court to Rule on Constitutionality of Affordable Care Act

The Department of Justice (DOJ) requested yesterday that the U.S. Supreme Court hear its appeal of the decision of a three-judge panel of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The Eleventh Circuit held 2-1 that the individual mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is unconstitutional.

The DOJ filed its Supreme Court petition two days after announcing that it would not request review from the full Eleventh Circuit. The DOJ’s petition requests review of the “matter of grave national importance” and requests that the Supreme Court address whether Congress had the power to enact the minimum coverage provision. The DOJ argues that the “fundamentally flawed” decision of the Eleventh Circuit “denies Congress the broad deference it is due in enacting laws to address the nation’s most pressing economic problems and set tax policy.”

The Supreme Court was likely to weigh in due to the split among the federal appeals courts that have reviewed the constitutionality of the ACA. However, the timing of the DOJ’s appeal is unexpected because the Supreme Court may now rule during an election year.