The US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on Monday that it was siding with U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor, who ruled in December that the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate is unconstitutional and that the rest of law is therefore invalid.
The announcement came just hours after 21 Democratic state attorneys general argued that Congress’ zeroing out of the penalty did not make the individual mandate unconstitutional, as the judge had ruled.
“The Department of Justice has determined that the district court’s judgement should be affirmed,” the department said in a short letter to the appeals court. “With the amount of the tax set at zero, the remaining minimum coverage provision becomes simply precatory—precisely as the amending Congress intended,” the brief stated. “It is no more constitutionally objectionable than the ‘sense of the Congress’ resolutions that Congress often adopts.”
The law will remain in effect while the ruling is being appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
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Contributed by Sean Walton of The Daily Sheeple.