Pierre, S.D – South Dakota Attorney General Marty J. Jackley announces today that the Federal District Court in Florida has ordered the federal government to file an appeal by March 10, 2011, and further seek an expedited appellate review, or risk being enjoined from further implementation of the Healthcare Act. On January 31, 2011, the Federal District Court granted summary judgment to 26 states, including South Dakota, holding the “individual mandate” provisions of the federal Healthcare Act unconstitutional; and declared the remainder of the Act void because it was not severable. The crux of the case centering upon the constitutionality of the individual mandate, which, beginning in 2014 will require everyone (with certain stated exceptions) to buy federally-approved health insurance or pay a monetary penalty.
In its Order of Clarification of March 3, 2011, the District Court recognized that “such an unprecedented and potentially radical expansion of Congress’s commerce power could only be authorized in the first instance by the Supreme Court, or possibly by a Constitutional amendment.” The District Court went on to advise, “I expressly declared that the entire Act was ‘void,’ and even though I emphasized that ‘separate injunctive relief is not necessary’ only because it must be presumed that ‘the Executive Branch will adhere to the law as declared by the court,’ which means that ‘declaratory judgment is the functional equivalent of an injunction.’” Accordingly, the Court expressed concern that the federal government has “indicated that they ‘do not interpret the Court’s order as requiring them to immediately cease [implementing and enforcing the Act]’” and “They have reportedly continued with full implementation of the Act.”
Because of these concerns, the District Court stayed its ruling conditioned upon the federal government filing an appeal within seven calendar days of its order and seeking an expedited appellate review, either in the Court of Appeals or with the United States Supreme Court.
“This ruling stops further delay by the federal government, and forces it to expedite this important case to the next level of litigation,” stated Attorney General Marty Jackley. “Congress already appears to be bringing about needed change to our healthcare system within the framework of our Constitution including repeal of the Form 1099 provisions that would place an unnecessary burden upon many South Dakota small businesses. South Dakota lawmakers conditioning any changes to our state healthcare system on the constitutionality of the Healthcare Act is further serving the best interests of South Dakotans.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, March 03, 2011
CONTACT: Sara Rabern, (605) 773-3215