Dem leaders defend reform law in court brief

The brief was filed with the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, where the Thomas More Law Center is challenging a federal judge’s October ruling that upheld the individual mandate. 

The American Cancer Society, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association also filed a friend-of-the-court briefs supporting healthcare reform.

The defense of the reform law comes in the same week that six sates were added to a lawsuit in Florida federal court that challenges the individual mandate, as well as the reform law’s expansion of the Medicaid program. The judge in that case, a President Reagan appointee, is expected to issue a ruling this month.

The Florida case, which was filed by 26 states and the National Federation of Independent Business, is the highest-profile challenge to the reform law, attracting friend-of-the-court briefs from House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and dozens of Republican lawmakers. Almost a dozen House Republicans, including Tea Party favorites Michelle Bachmann (Minn.) and Ron Paul (Texas), already filed briefs opposing the Obama Administration in the Thomas More case.

Two federal judges, who were both appointed by President Clinton, have so far ruled in favor of the individual mandate, while a federal judge in Virginia last month struck it down. However, the judge — a President George W. Bush appointee — did not block implementation of the law.

Legal observers expect the reform law challenges to wind up in the Supreme Court by mid-2012, just in time for them to play a key role in the presidential campaign.


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