In its first filing defending the Affordable Care Act, the Justice Department questions the plaintiffs' standing to bring suit. The response also argues that the law is within Congress' powers to tax and spend and clearly within congressional prerogative under the Commerce Clause.
The suit, filed in a Michigan federal court by the conservative Thomas Moore Law Center, seeks to enjoin the provision mandating health insurance coverage for individuals from being enforced. The DOJ, noting that the individual mandate does not go into effect until 2014, says that the plaintiffs "demonstrate no current injury, and merely speculate whether the law will harm them once it is in force."
Even if the plaintiffs were found to have standing, the DOJ writes, the suit's likelihood of success is minimal. Echoing points that have been made by constitutional law experts on the legality of the individual health care mandate, Justice Department attorneys cite congressional authority to tax and spend, and under the Commerce Clause, arguing that the Affordable Care Act falls well within Congress' powers under Article I of the Constitution. Arguments to the contrary "are flatly wrong," the DOJ's brief states.
A copy of the Justice Department's filing is below.Defendant's Response 210cv11156 ED Mich