TOPEKA – (September 28, 2011) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt today asked the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down the federal Affordable Care Act and to do so quickly because “states need certainty.”
Schmidt and the attorneys general or governors of 25 other states today filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to take up the case during its 2011-2012 term and to render a final decision on whether the health care law is constitutional.
“States need certainty,” Schmidt said. “Americans need certainty. This dispute needs to be settled.”
The 26 states joined together in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the federal law. In January, a federal district court in Florida struck down the entire law. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta in August sided with the states and ruled unconstitutional the portion of the law mandating every American purchase health insurance coverage or face a penalty but ruled that the rest of the law can go into effect.
In their appeal, the states asked the Supreme Court to strike down the entire law. They asked the Court to find the individual mandate unconstitutional and also to find that the law’s mandate on businesses exceeds the scope of federal authority. They also asked the Court to rule unconstitutional the law’s requirement that most states dramatically expand their Medicaid programs and the law’s new limitation on state flexibility to shape Medicaid within each state’s borders.
“This law is an unprecedented federal power grab,” Schmidt said. “It dramatically expands the scope of federal power into areas traditionally reserved for the states and for individual citizens. In our view, it is inconsistent with the concept of a federal government with limited, enumerated powers. In the long run, there is nothing ‘affordable’ about this act.”
To date, a total of 12 federal judges have ruled on the constitutionality of the federal law. Six have upheld it, and six have found it unconstitutional. Two federal appeals courts have ruled on the merits of the law. The 6th Circuit, in Cincinnati, upheld the law while the 11th Circuit, in Atlanta, struck down its key provision. The 4th Circuit upheld the law on purely procedural grounds.
The Supreme Court begins its fall term next week and will decide in the coming weeks whether to hear the case this term. If it agrees to take the case, then a final decision would be expected before the end of June 2012.