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Texas Political Leaders Pleased About Supreme Court Hearing on Obamacare

Brendan Smialowski, Getty Images

Some Texas political leaders weighed in on the Supreme Court’s decision to hear arguments regarding Obamacare.

The Supreme Court of the United States has scheduled five and a half hours of argument to hear multiple aspects of the Federal Health Care Reform Law. The issues to be considered by the justices include whether or not Congress overstepped its authority on certain parts of the law, if so, whether the individual mandate can be stripped from the rest of the law, the Anti-Injunction Act, and questions regarding changes to Medicaid.

The Anti-Injunction Act, a 19th century law, was cited by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals last September, which would mean that legal challenges to the individual mandate could not be decided until after at least one person has paid the tax penalties for failure to have health coverage. That means that the Supreme Court finds that the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling is proper, no legal decisions could be made to the individual mandate portion of the law until 2015.

Texas is one of 26 states claiming that the individual mandate infringes upon the constitutional rights of citizens, infringes on the sovereignty of all states, and that the reform law is in violation of the Tenth Amendment. Their lawsuit claims that Congress overstepped their authority under the Constitution, and also that the tax penalty for not having health coverage is an unlawful direct tax. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last August that the individual mandate was unconstitutional, but the rest of the law could stand.

Oral arguments will likely be held in February or March of 2012, and a decision is possible by June.

Pete Souza, The White House via Getty Images

White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer released a statement shortly after news of the Supreme Court’s announcement, saying “Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, one million more young Americans have health insurance, women are getting mammograms and preventive services without paying an extra penny out of their own picket and insurance companies have to spend more of your premiums on health care instead of advertising and bonuses. We know the Affordable Care Act is constitutional and are confident the Supreme Court will agree.”

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott issued a statement Monday on the SCOTUS decision, saying “Given the substantial implementation costs association with this 2,700-page law, and the unconstitutional mandate that it will impose on all Americans, we are pleased that the Supreme Court has moved quickly and agreed to hear this very important case.”

“As the federal district court and the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in this very case, the federal government exceeded the constitutional limits of its authority by requiring all Americans to buy government-approved health insurance,” Abbott continued.

Texas U.S. Senator John Cornyn weighed in as well, saying “The individual mandate violates the liberties our founders fought so hard to establish by dismantling the government of limited powers they fought so hard to create. Both the court of public opinion and multiple courts of law have ruled that the federal government cannot force Texans to buy something they don’t want, and I hope the Supreme Court will do the same.”

Governor Rick Perry also issued a statement, saying that he is “hopeful the Supreme Court will confirm what other federal courts have already recognized: that Obamacare is an unprecedented overreach and an unconstitutional infringement upon individual liberties.”

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