Why PLF is challenging Obamacare: drawing a line in the sand


Author: Luke A. Wake

Yesterday PLF announced the filing of Sissel v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services et. al. The suit challenges the PPACA's mandate that individuals must purchase health insurance against their will on Commerce Clause grounds. Yet some people are wondering what makes our suit different from the Attorney Generals' suits in Florida and Virginia, and why PLF stepped into this legal battle?

Matt Sissel

First and foremost, I want to emphasize that we represent an individual whose rights are being violated by the mandate. Our client, Matt Sissel, is being forced to buy health insurance against his will. At this point, he is being injured by that requirement because he must rearrange his finances in anticipation of this government imposed financial burden. Moreover, he is going to have to pay costly fines to the IRS if he continues to exercise his liberty to remain uninsured. So we are challenging the mandate because Sissel's rights are being violated, and because his liberty is being encroached. Whereas the Attorney Generals' suit represents the interests of the states, our suit represents the interests of everyday American citizens like Sissel. Our suit is about individual rights, and taking a stand against the federal government's command and control over our lives.

Secondly, it is only natural that we should bring a challenge against the individual mandate because PLF is the nation's leading litigator for liberty and individual rights; nobody is a stronger and more successful defender of our constitutional principles of limited government. Over the years, we have gained special expertise in Commerce Clause litigation.

In 2005 we won Raponos v. United States in the Supreme Court, which was, at bottom, a victory for Commerce Clause limits on federal power. We currently have another Commerce Clause case on appeal in the Ninth Circuit challenging the federal government's authority to implement regulations affecting the Delta Smelt, which is found only in California, and which has no commercial value. Federal regulation of Delta Smelt under the Endangered Species Act has led to drastic water cutbacks for farms and communities in Central and Southern California, and has greatly harmed California's already weakened economy. Our health care challenge, like our Delta Smelt litigation, represents a renewed effort to push back against the ever more draconian web of federal entanglement in our lives and local affairs. We are drawing a line in the sand, and are now fighting to ensure that there are still limits on the federal government's power over our lives.