House Republicans today called on the Supreme Court to rule the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional, projecting a high degree of confidence that the entire law will be struck down when justices hand down their decision this summer.
"We the American people are getting our day in court," Rep. Bill Johnson, a Tea Party-supported freshman from Ohio, proclaimed this afternoon.
Republicans used all sorts of colorful and descriptive language to rip the divisive law, calling it an "unconstitutional assault on liberty," a "job killer" and a "malignant tumor" but noted that "today the process of checks and balances proceeds as the case is being heard in the Supreme Court."
"As a physician, I believe the law to be unconstitutional but also [a violation] of every single principle in health care that we hold dear," Rep. Tom Price, chairman of the Republican policy committee, said. "We will not rest until this law is removed from the books."
Freshman Republican Renee Ellmers, a nurse from North Carolina elected behind an electoral wave of Tea Party support in 2010, said the law "overreaches in the name of universal privilege," leaving the power of the government unchecked.
"At stake are the freedoms and liberties that have made our nation a beacon of hope and a model for achievement," Ellmers said. "I ran for office in order to defund, dismantle, repeal and replace 'ObamaCare,' and I, along with my colleagues, will not rest until this effort is completed and the promise is kept."
Rep. Louie Gohmert called the law a "socialist idea" that breaks from the country's founding principle of individual liberty and he said it "shouldn't have any place here" in the United States because "here we believe in individual liberty."
"This is clearly unconstitutional for any majority in the House and Senate to tell all Americans [that] just to live in this country, you must buy a product," Gohmert, R-Texas, said. "This is a bad idea. This ObamaCare bill gives federal government the right to control your kitchen, your dining room, your bedroom - everything. And it needs to be overturned. Liberty needs to be protected."
Price, who watched inside the Supreme Court during this morning's oral arguments, dismissed a hypothetical question potentially facing Congress if the Supreme Court rules that the individual mandate is unconstitutional but the rest of the law stands.
"This entire law is based upon a faulty premise and that is that the federal government ought to be controlling our health care. It's not just the individual mandate," he said. "The whole law has to be overturned and removed, and then we can get onto the business of putting in place appropriate, positive, patient-centered health reforms."