Supreme Court asked to rule on healthcare

Sept. 28, 2011 at 7:17 PM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- The U.S. Justice Department asked the Supreme Court Wednesday to rule this term on a legal challenge to landmark healthcare reform law.

If the court does so, its ruling is likely to be made with the 2012 presidential campaign in full swing, The Washington Post reported. All Republican candidates have called for repeal of the plan, including Mitt Romney, who supported an almost identical state plan when he was governor of Massachusetts.

"Throughout history, there have been similar challenges to other landmark legislation such as the Social Security Act, the Civil Rights Act, and the Voting Rights Act, and all of those challenges failed," the Justice Department said. "We believe the challenges to Affordable Care Act -- like the one in the 11th Circuit -- will also ultimately fail and that the Supreme Court will uphold the law."

A three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit appeals court in Atlanta is the only federal court so far to have ruled that Congress did not have the power to enact the law, which requires most U.S. residents to have health insurance. In a ruling last month, the majority on the panel called the "individual mandate" to have insurance a "wholly novel and potentially unbounded assertion of congressional authority."

A majority on the 6th Circuit in Cincinnati called the mandate "a valid exercise of legislative power by Congress under the Commerce Clause." The 4th Circuit in Richmond threw out another challenge to the law on the grounds that the state of Virginia did not have standing to attack it.

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