U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder responded Thursday to a federal appeals court’s request for a letter explaining President Obama’s assertion that the Affordable Care Act must be upheld, a move that even some conservatives considered a bridge too far.
Holder reminded the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that the president was making the point that the law jibes with longstanding precedent, but — contrary to what the Republican-appointed judges suggested — he wasn’t challenging the judicial branch’s authority to strike down laws that violate the Constitution.
The key portion of the DOJ letter:
The Department has not in this litigation, nor in any other litigation of which I am aware, ever asked this or any other Court to reconsider or limit long-established precedent concerning judicial review of the constitutionality of federal legislation.
At no point has the government suggested that the Court would lack authority to review plaintiffs’ constitutional claims if the Court were to conclude that jurisdiction exists. The case has been fully briefed and argued, and it is ready for disposition. The question posed by the Court regarding judicial review does not concern any argument made in the government’s brief or at oral argument in this case …
The power of the courts to review the constitutionality of legislation is beyond dispute.
In the 3-page letter, Holder noted that the Supreme Court has granted great deference to Congress on legislative matters. He concluded, “The President’s remarks were fully consistent with the principles described herein.”
Read the full letter below: