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D.C. Circuit to Hear Constitutional Challenge to Obamacare
Cutler is challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare, both on its face and as applied. Cutler asserts that the provision requiring individuals to purchase government-mandated health insurance coverage or face monetary penalties violates the religion clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution (Cutler is conscientiously opposed to the mandate but does not qualify for the religious exemption). Moreover, Cutler asserts that the recent “administrative fix” by the Obama administration that permits some citizens (based upon the State in which they reside) to keep their healthcare plan “if they like it,” but not others, including Cutler, violates the equal protection guarantee of the Fifth Amendment.
Cutler, a resident of Pennsylvania, currently serves as the Tax Collector of East Lampeter Township, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, having won the election in November 2013. From 2007 to 2013, Cutler had a health insurance policy that he liked because it included the coverage he needed, it allowed him to see the doctors he wanted, and it was affordable.
On October 12, 2013, Cutler received a notice from his insurance company that his health insurance would soon be cancelled because of Obamacare. And, indeed, his insurance was cancelled on December 31, 2013. Consequently, on January 1, 2014, Cutler was without health insurance and has accrued penalties as a result.
Despite the fact that Cutler lost his healthcare insurance because of Obamacare and is subject to penalty as a result, the government is arguing that Cutler lacks standing (i.e.,he has not suffered a legally sufficient injury) to advance his constitutional challenge.
AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel Robert J. Muise, who will be arguing the case on Tuesday, commented: “There is no question that Mr. Cutler has suffered an injury that is fairly traceable to the Affordable Care Act. He, therefore, has legal standing to advance this challenge. Indeed, it would be unjust to avoid resolving the difficult, but legitimate, constitutional claims in this case based on a standing argument.”
AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel David Yerushalmi added: “The lawlessness of this administration is breathtaking and must be stopped. We are committed to doing all that we can to limit, if not eliminate, the harm Obamacare is causing to our Constitution and the freedoms it protects. Unfortunately, so many of these cases are decided based upon political views rather than what the Constitution requires. We hope to reverse that trend.”
ORAL ARGUMENT Information
Date: Tuesday, May 12, 2015, at 9:30 a.m. ET
Address: E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse
333 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20001-2866
Judges: Circuit Judges Henderson, Rogers, and Millett
Case: Jeffrey Cutler v. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Case No. 14-5183.
Note: Robert Muise will be available for interviews after the arguments.
Robert J. Muise, Esq.