During the initial legislative debate over ObamaCare, a reporter asked (now-outgoing) House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) whether the U.S. Constitution grants Congress the power to compel Americans to purchase health insurance. Pelosi responded, "Are you serious? Are you serious?"
Today, a federal court answered Ms. Pelosi's question when it declared ObamaCare's individual mandate unconstitutional.
Here is Pelosi's statement responding to today's court ruling in Cuccinelli v. Sebelius:
Pelosi Statement on Affordable Care Act Ruling in Virginia District Court
WASHINGTON, Dec. 13, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued the following statement today after a District Court judge in Virginia ruled one provision of the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. The judge refused to freeze implementation of the law during the appeals process, meaning Americans already benefitting from health insurance reform -- or set to benefit soon -- will not be affected:
"Today's court ruling stands in stark contrast to 14 similar challenges to the Affordable Care Act -- in two, federal district judges strongly upheld the law; in the other 12, the challenges have been dismissed.
"Since its enactment, health insurance reform has delivered concrete benefits to millions of Americans. Among provisions already benefitting the American people, it has offered small businesses a tax break to cover their workers, allowed young adults to stay on their parents' plans until age 26, and provided assistance to seniors struggling to pay prescription drug costs. These changes are good for our middle class, and will not be impacted by this court's decision to overturn a single provision of the law.
"There have been and will continue to be a wide range of attempts to weaken this law. But as in previous court rulings across the country, I am confident that the Affordable Care Act will ultimately be sustained and will keep benefitting our middle class, our families, and our businesses, indeed every American. In Congress, we will stand firm against attempts to roll back the law, including the Patient's Bill of Rights and the critical consumer protections enacted by health insurance reform."
SOURCE Office of the Speaker of the House
Note that Pelosi does not address the constitutional issue.