Several cases challenging the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the “ACA”) are traveling through the country in route to the United States Supreme Court. One of those cases, entitled Thomas More Law Center v. Obama, 2011 WL 2556039 (6th Cir. 2011), has become the subject of a petition by the Law Center asking the Supreme Court to review the Sixth Circuit decision. The petition was filed on July 26, 2011.
The Sixth Circuit upheld the constitutionality of the ACA. The court there determined that the “insurance mandate” included in the ACA was a proper exercise by Congress under the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution. Numerous other appellate court cases have been decided since the passage of the ACA on March 23, 2010. Most of those cases have held that the requirement that all persons maintain insurance coverage is unconstitutional, but they have disagreed on whether or not the remainder of the law is severable and, therefore, may go forward. The petition by the Thomas More Law Center to the United States Supreme Court, is seeking a decision prior to the Supreme Court’s recess in the summer of 2012. Considering the political climate and the effect that this decision might have on voting in 2012, if the Supreme Court decides to take the case, the timing of its decision on the merits may be most important.