WASHINGTON---U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) announced today that he has joined a friend-of-the-court brief to be filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in the ongoing lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the new federal health law. The brief, signed by 44 Senators, is led by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and urges the court to uphold a lower court ruling that the health law’s individual insurance mandate is unconstitutional. Hatch joined a similar brief when the law was challenged in the U.S. District Court.
“This law is an unprecedented expansion of federal power that busts the limits the Constitution places on the federal government,” said Hatch, a member and former Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “The constitutional arguments against this law are on our side. Our freedoms require limits on government, and those limits do not allow Congress to dictate economic decisions rather than regulate economic activities.”
Utah is one of the original plaintiffs in this lawsuit, now brought by a total of 26 states, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), and individual citizens. U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson in December found that the individual insurance mandate is unconstitutional and, therefore, the law should not be implemented.
Hatch was the first Senator to publicly argue that the Constitution does not authorize Congress to require that individuals purchase health insurance or face a financial penalty. Last year and again this year, Hatch introduced the American Liberty Restoration Act (S. 19) which would repeal the unconstitutional individual insurance mandate being challenged in this lawsuit. Twenty-two Senators have so far co-sponsored the bill, which is endorsed by groups such as NFIB and the National Retail Federation.