Wednesday, July 6, 2011

District Court grants U.S. motion for summary judgment in U.S. Taxpayers v. Sebelius

You might recall that the District Court for the Northern District of Ohio was waiting for the Sixth Circuit's decision in Thomas More Law Center v. Obama before issuing its ruling in U.S. Taxpayers Association v. Sebelius on cross-motions for summary judgment concerning the constitutionality of the minimum coverage provision. (Judge Dowd had previously dismissed the plaintiffs' three other claims in the case: that the ACA violates (1) plaintiffs’ freedom of expressive and intimate association guaranteed by the First and Fifth Amendments, (2) the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment, or (3) plaintiffs’ constitutionally protected right to privacy.)

In light of the Sixth Circuit's decision, Judge Dowd on Friday granted summary judgment to the United States on the matter of the individual mandate. Here is the relevant passage:
"This Court is bound by the Sixth Circuit’s majority ruling in Thomas More that the minimum coverage provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a valid exercise of legislative power by Congress under the Commerce Clause. Therefore, the Court grants defendants’ motion for summary judgment on Count 1 of plaintiffs’ second amended complaint. Accordingly, defendants’ motion for summary judgment is GRANTED and plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment is DENIED." 
You can access Judge Dowd's order here.