Georgia’s governor and attorney general said Friday’s decision by the federal appeals court in Atlanta that strikes down the federal health care reform individual mandate is “a huge step toward victory” but ultimately, ObamaCare will be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Governor Nathan Deal and Attorney General Sam Olens issued a statement about two hours after the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta released its 2-to-1 opinion:
“We applaud today’s ruling from the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit striking down the individual mandate as ‘a wholly novel and potentially unbounded assertion of congressional authority.’ Today’s ruling recognizes the core principles of our federalist system and reminds an over-reaching federal government that the Constitution applies to it, too.
“We do not, however, agree with all findings in the decision. Unlike the 11th Circuit, we believe that the Obama administration should be taken at its word that the individual mandate is crucial to the whole bill, and that the whole bill should be struck down.
“But this much is certain: Federal health care reform is on life support, and this case will be decided by the Supreme Court of the United States. Today is a huge step toward victory, but it is also a day that emphasizes the importance of the work ahead.”
Friday’s decision came in a case filed by Florida and joined by 25 states including Georgia. In January, federal judge Roger Vinson ruled all of federal health reform was unconstitutional. The federal government appealed. Friday’s decision rejected only the individual mandate.
Chief Judge Joel Dubina and Circuit Judge Frank Hull found “the individual mandate contained in the Act exceeds Congress’s enumerated commerce power.”
Their majority opinion said, “What Congress cannot do under the Commerce Clause is mandate that individuals enter into contracts with private insurance companies for the purchase of an expensive product from the time they are born until the time they die,” the opinion said.
Judge Stanley Marcus disagreed in dissent. He wrote that the majority opinion ignored the “undeniable fact that Congress’ commerce power has grown exponentially over the past two centuries, and is now generally accepted as having afforded Congress the authority to create rules regulating large areas of our national economy.”
Obama administration options include asking the complete 11th Circuit Court to review the opinion, or it could appeal directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Three federal appeals court cases are working their way toward a Supreme Court resolution. The court in Cincinnati upheld ObamaCare and court in Richmond has yet to issue its opinion. A decision by the U.S. Supreme Court would come during the 2012 presidential election year.