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Another Victory for the Affordable Care Act
June 29, 2011 Posted by

Today the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s ruling in the Thomas More Law Center v. Obama case dismissing the challenge to the Affordable Care Act – upholding the law as constitutional.  Tracy Schmaler, Deputy Director of the Office of Public Affairs released the following statement:

“We welcome the Sixth Circuit’s ruling today dismissing this challenge to the Affordable Care Act and its finding that Congress acted within its authority in passing this landmark health care reform law.  We will continue to vigorously defend the health care reform statute in any litigation challenging it.  Throughout history, there have been similar challenges to other landmark legislation such as the Social Security Act, the Civil Rights Act, and the Voting Rights Act, and all of those challenges failed.  We believe these challenges to health reform will also fail.”

 For more information on defending the Affordable Care Act, visit justice.gov/healthcare.

Improving Regulations: With Your Help
June 1, 2011 Posted by

On January 18, 2011, President Obama ordered federal agencies (via Executive Order 13563) to review existing significant regulations to determine whether they should be modified, streamlined, expanded, or repealed.

As time passes and technologies, legal standards, and circumstances change, regulations may become outmoded, ineffective, insufficient, or excessively burdensome.

We want to make our regulatory program more effective and less burdensome while still achieving its regulatory objectives.

The Department sought suggestions from regulated entities and the general public. We incorporated those suggestions throughout the plan. The Department also incorporated best practices from the extensive agency efforts already underway to review existing regulations, respond to petitions for rulemaking, modernize technologies, and engage the public.

Read the Preliminary Plan for Retrospective Review of Existing Regulations (PDF)

Going forward, the Department proposes to establish a Department‐wide working group that will institutionalize a culture of retrospective review. The working group plans to review one to three rules each year, and the components have already identified several candidate rules that the group will evaluate through the retrospective review process described in this plan. Once the working group reviews these initial candidates, the Department plans to report to the public on the outcome of its assessment. Throughout this process, the Department seeks to build upon its commitment to open government and to promote evidence‐based, decision‐making with respect to regulations

Members of the public are encouraged to comment on this Preliminary Plan and suggest additional candidate rules on or before June 30, 2011.   To comment on the Justice Department’s Preliminary Plan, visit www.regulations.gov and insert DOJ-LA-2011-0016 in the “Enter Keyword or ID” box.  Once you are taken to the docket for this plan, click on the “Submit a Comment” bubble to open the comment form. We look forward to hearing from you.

On the Northern District Court in Florida’s Order of a Stay of the Court’s Affordable Care Act Ruling
March 3, 2011 Posted by

Today Judge Vinson of the Northern District Court in Florida ordered a stay of the court’s ruling  that would have halted implementation of the Affordable Care Act, pending the government’s appeal. Tracy Schmaler, Deputy Director of the Office of Public Affairs released the following statement:

“We appreciate the court’s recognition of the enormous disruption that would have resulted if implementation of the Affordable Care Act was abruptly halted.  We welcome the court’s granting of a stay to allow the current programs and consumer protections, including tax credits to small business and millions of dollars in federal grants to help states with health care costs, to continue pending our appeal in the Eleventh Circuit. 

 “We strongly disagree with the district court’s underlying ruling in this case and continue to believe – as three federal courts have found – that this law is constitutional.  There is clear and well-established legal precedent that Congress acted within its constitutional authority in passing the Affordable Care Act and we are confident that we will ultimately prevail on appeal.”   

For more information on the department’s defense of The Affordable Care Act, visit: justice.gov/healthcare

The District Court in Washington, DC’s Affordable Care Act Ruling
February 23, 2011 Posted by

Following the ruling today out of the District Court in Washington, DC on the Affordable Care Act, Tracy Schmaler, Deputy Director of the Office of Public Affairs released the following statement:

“We welcome this ruling, which marks the third time a court has reviewed the Affordable Care Act on the merits and upheld it as constitutional. This court found – as two others have previously — that the minimum coverage provision of the statute was a reasonable measure for Congress to take in reforming our health care system. At the same time, trial courts in additional cases have dismissed numerous challenges to this law on jurisdictional and other grounds. The Department will continue to vigorously defend this law in ongoing litigation.”

For more information on the department’s defense of The Affordable Care Act, visit: justice.gov/healthcare

On the Northern District Court in Florida’s Affordable Care Act Ruling
January 31, 2011 Posted by

Following the ruling today out of the Northern District Court in Florida on the Affordable Care Act, Tracy Schmaler, Deputy Director of the Office of Public Affairs released the following statement:

“The department intends to appeal this ruling to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

“We strongly disagree with the court’s ruling today and continue to believe – as other federal courts have found – that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional. This is one of a number of cases pending before courts around the country, including several that the government has won in the district courts that are now before the courts of appeals. There is clear and well-established legal precedent that Congress acted within its constitutional authority in passing this law and we are confident that we will ultimately prevail on appeal.”

“We are analyzing this opinion to determine what steps, if any – including seeking a stay – are necessary while the appeal is pending to continue our progress toward ensuring that Americans do not lose out on the important protections this law provides, that the millions of children and adults who depend on Medicaid programs receive the care the law requires, and that the millions of seniors on Medicare receive the benefits they need.”

For more information on the department’s defense of The Affordable Care Act, visit: justice.gov/healthcare

Honoring Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy
January 21, 2011 Posted by
Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy meets with advisors in his office at The Justice Department.

Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy meets with advisors in his office at The Justice Department.

Earlier today, on the 50th anniversary of his swearing-in as Attorney General, the Department of Justice came together to celebrate the achievements and enduring contributions of Robert F. Kennedy.  Joined by Kennedy family members, including his wife, Ethel Kennedy, renowned civil rights leaders, historians and current and former Justice Department employees this event commemorated the life and service of our nation’s 64th Attorney General.

Attorney General Eric Holder reflected on the enduring legacy of Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, noting:

No one can doubt how Robert Francis Kennedy chose to use the law when he was Attorney General.  He taught us that law can be a powerful force for good – if we are willing, as he was, to roll up our sleeves, to summon our courage and our best efforts, and to lead from the front lines of change. 

In doing just that, Attorney General Kennedy championed the cause of the least among us – and made our nation more just, more fair, and more humane.  He was not afraid to dream a better world and to act to create it.

However, the Attorney General also pointed to the work left still to do:

In his first speech as Attorney General, Robert Kennedy argued that the time for apathy had long since passed; that it was time to, “[prove] to the world that we really mean it when we say that all men are created free and equal before the law.”

“All of us,” he said, “might wish at times that we lived in a more tranquil world – but we don’t.  And if our times are difficult and perplexing, so are they challenging and filled with opportunity.”

Despite all that’s been accomplished in recent decades, we – still – do not live in tranquil times.  We continue to face difficulty, injustice, division, and an array of challenges that can serve to sharpen our skills, steel our resolve, focus our energy, and impel us to action.

In times like these, the importance of Robert Kennedy’s work becomes ever clearer…
So, as we celebrate Robert Kennedy’s life and his impact on this Department, let us also commit ourselves to carrying on – and carrying out – his mission to make gentle the life of this world, and to make good on the promise of our nation.  Let us answer his call, “to face up to our nation’s problems and live up to its founding principles.”  And let us heed the wisdom of his extraordinary example.

In marking this special anniversary, the Justice Department is pleased to release a selection of historic photos from the Department’s archives. These images capture Attorney General Kennedy at work in the Department, at home with his family, and in public with people from all corners of the globe.

Also, for the first time, the Department of Justice library has compiled and digitized a collection of Robert F. Kennedy’s statements and speeches from his tenure as Attorney General. These speeches, from 1961 to 1964 provide a window into the world of the Justice Department during that time.

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