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June 13 - Georgia AG Joins 25 States Arguing Healthcare Law is Unconstitutional

SBJ Staff Report

June 13, 2011 - The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments last week in the lawsuit filed by 26 states, including Georgia, and other plaintiffs challenging federal healthcare reform. Former United States Solicitor General Paul Clement argued on behalf of the States.

“We are fortunate to have Paul Clement, the nation’s preeminent appellate advocate, presenting our argument today before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals,” said Attorney General Sam Olens on Wednesday.  “He and his talented legal team are committed to ensuring that the States are successful in our Constitutional challenge to federal healthcare reform.”

The States and other plaintiffs are challenging federal healthcare reform on the grounds that it exceeds Congress’s powers as enumerated in the Constitution, infringes on individual liberty and unconstitutionally commandeers the States.

“The law passed on partisan lines by Congress last year blatantly violates the U.S. Constitution by mandating Americans to enter the marketplace and purchase products,” said Olens. “This direct assault on individual liberty exceeds Congress’s enumerated powers. Additionally, the law significantly alters the Medicaid program and passes on massive costs and more requirements to the States. I am hopeful that the court will agree with Judge Vinson that the law must be struck down.”

Many believe the effort little chance of success due to fairly recent rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court, including conservative Justices such as Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy.  Within the past 10 years, the Supreme Court has agreed to review several important cases regarding the general regulation of interstate commerce and has consistently ruled that the Constitution gives Congress almost unlimited power to regulate the marketplace.

Recently, Scalia supported the constitutionality of broad federal regulation of health insurance, leading supporters of the Federal Healthcare bill to question the tactics and expenditure of fighting the legislation that Congress spent months on before passing.
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