(Sean Whaley/Nevada News Bureau) – Oral arguments in the ongoing legal challenge of the national health care law by 26 states including Nevada are set for June 8 before the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, Ga.
Lead Special Counsel for Nevada, Mark Hutchison, will represent the state at the hearing, which will consider the federal government’s appeal of a lower federal court ruling out of Florida which found a key provision of the health care law unconstitutional.
Florida Judge Roger Vinson ruled Jan. 31 that the provision of the law that requires all U.S. citizens and residents purchase a private health insurance policy is unconstitutional.
“The federal government’s appeal was expected,” Hutchison said. “We are confident that Judge Vinson’s decision is sound and that at the end of the day the states will prevail. Congress exceeded its authority under the Constitution by compelling Americans to purchase a product, in this case a health insurance policy, from a private company.”
In Vinson’s original ruling he reasoned: “It is difficult to imagine that a nation which began, at least in part, as the result of opposition to a British mandate giving the East India Company a monopoly and imposing a nominal tax on all tea sold in America would have set out to create a government with the power to force people to buy tea in the first place. If Congress can penalize a passive individual for failing to engage in commerce, the enumeration of powers in the Constitution would have been in vain for it would be ‘difficult to perceive any limitation on federal power,’ and we would have a Constitution in name only. Surely this is not what the Founding Fathers could have intended.”
The federal lawsuit was originally filed in federal court in the Northern District of Florida on Mar. 23, 2010. Nevada joined the lawsuit on May 14, 2010 at the direction of former Gov. Jim Gibbons.
Gov. Brian Sandoval supports Nevada’s legal challenge of the law as well.
The state of Virginia filed a separate lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Virginia on Mar. 23, 2010, making a total of 27 states challenging the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.