Monday, July 4, 2011

Summary of the United States' brief from Seven-Sky v. Holder

The United States makes essentially the same arguments in Seven-Sky as it has in the other courts of appeals thus far. First, it argues that “[t]he Minimum Coverage Provision is a valid exercise of Congress’s Commerce Power” because: (1) it “regulates economic activity that imposes a substantial burden on interstate commerce”; (2) it “is essential to the Act’s guaranteed-issue and community-rating reforms, which prohibit insurers from relying on medical condition or history to deny coverage or set premiums”; (3) it “is a necessary and proper means of regulating interstate commerce”; and (4) “Plaintiffs’ legal arguments contradict governing Commerce Clause precedent.”

Second, the United States argues that the Minimum Coverage Provision is also independently authorized by Congress’s Taxing Power,” because (1) it “operates as a tax,” (2) its “validity under the taxing power does not depend on how the assessment is labeled,” and (3) “Congress may impose taxes that also regulate the activity taxed.”

Finally, the United States argues that the district court was correct in rejecting the Plaintiff’s claim under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).