Heritage Foundation's Gaziano: Individual Mandate ‘Not Our Idea’

Sunday, 01 Apr 2012 09:43 AM

By John Bachman

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The Heritage Foundation's constitutional law expert, Todd Gaziano, fired back last week at people who have said the group came up with the idea of a law that requires everyone to buy health insurance also known as the individual mandate.

“It wasn’t really our idea. Any constitutional scholar worth their salt should have known that the individual mandate was unconstitutional,” Gaziano told Newsmax.TV during an exclusive interview Thursday.

Gaziano, who is the director of the Heritage Foundation’s Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, co-authored what he considers “the first comprehensive paper to really lay out why it’s [the individual mandate] unconstitutional.”

“We decided that we needed a comprehensive paper to explain why it was unconstitutional. That it was unprecedented was part of the argument,” Gaziano said.

Story continues below video.

Gaziano said the paper was cited by Utah Sen. Orin Hatch as well as other Republican legislators as part of their argument against the individual mandate before the Affordable Care Act was passed.

“I’m just thrilled that the theories that we put forward in that paper in December of 2009 were really the lynch pins of the arguments used in the Supreme Court,” Gaziano said. “If I had any role, it was really just being the first person to explain it in detail.”

Gaziano also talked about witnessing the Affordable Care Act oral arguments this week at the Supreme Court.

“It’s an experience I probably will never forget, in part because it probably is the most important Supreme Court case in about 65 years.”

When asked if he had a prediction as to how the justices would rule in June, Gaziano said: “I think it’s very likely that there is a majority to apply the real Constitution and to strike down the mandate.

“When the heart of the act is torn out, the rest of the statute will fall.”

Gaziano also joked about a video interview he did on the steps of the Supreme Court Tuesday that was widely circulated on the Internet. In the video, there was a large cat on a leash in the background.

Gaziano conceded that the video may have been viewed so many times because the cat was such a strange sight to see at such a serious and historic event.

“My colleagues here at Heritage say it was because of the content, Gaziano said. "I think the cat on the leash, that big orange cat, had a little bit, at least, to do with it,” Gaziano said.

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