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January 29, 2015
DOJ’s SCOTUS Brief Defends Constitutionality of Individual Mandate
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently filed a brief to the U.S. Supreme Court defending the constitutionality of the individual mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The DOJ’s brief delineates the administration’s main legal arguments:
- The minimum coverage provision of the ACA falls “well within” Congress’ commerce power. In making this argument, the DOJ contends that Congress has broad power under the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause to enact economic regulation. Further, the DOJ contends that the minimum coverage provision is an integral part of a comprehensive scheme of economic regulation, and the provision itself regulates the economic conduct with a substantial effect on interstate commerce.
- The minimum coverage provision is independently authorized by Congress’ taxing power. The DOJ argues that the provision operates as a tax law, and the validity of an assessment under Congress’ taxing power does not depend on whether it is denominated a tax.
Briefs due later in January and February address other issues involved. The Health Law team at von Briesen will continue to monitor and report on the progress of the ACA challenge, including additional briefs by the parties.
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