State Attorneys General Laud Healthcare Ruling

Tuesday, 01 Feb 2011 07:42 AM

By Hiram Reisner

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Several states' attorneys general told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren on Monday that they are very pleased with a federal judge’s decision that Obamacare is unconstitutional, and that it is a critical move for the 26 states that collectively filed a lawsuit again the healthcare reform law.

Pam Bondi, Florida, healthcare,
Fla. Attorney General Pam Bondi
“We're all excited, all 26 of our states, and of course, Oklahoma and Virginia, who have their independent lawsuits going, as well,” said Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. “It wasn't only a scholarly ruling, it was very complex but it was also very simple. And what it said is that the federal government cannot trample on our rights.”

U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson on Monday accepted without trial the argument that the new law violates people's rights by forcing them to buy health insurance by 2014 or face penalties.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said he is already getting the word out to his state’s elected officials.

“We've been involved this afternoon in advising people in our state legislature, which is now in session, as well as people across the state of Texas that this an incredibly important ruling for them and for their liberty interests and for their business interests,” Abbott said.

“But this is one federal district court ruling. We won't know the finality of this until the Supreme Court rules on it,” he continued. “I think it is prudent for our legislature to continue making preparations so we can be ready in the event this district court ruling is overturned. But we are hopeful, based upon both this decision today, the decision out of Virginia, and most importantly, the analysis that is contained in those decisions, which makes clear that if these decisions are overturned, the federal courts will have to be breaking new ground, making new law, expanding the commerce clause beyond where it has ever been taken before.”

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, a former senator, was asked how he expects the Senate to react to the decision.

“Well, I think if you're in the White House or you're a Democrat in the United States Senate, you know that, ultimately, this is going to be decided by the United States Supreme Court. But I would think that you would have to be looking at an alternative plan,” DeWine said. “What happens if, in fact, this is declared unconstitutional? The decision by the judge today is very persuasive.

“Now, of course I'm against Obama healthcare, and I think it's unconstitutional. But I think it's very well written, very, very powerful decision. And I think if you're President Obama or Harry Reid, you got to be thinking, OK, if this is declared unconstitutional, where do we go?”

Noting that the decision is expected to end up in the Supreme Court, Van Susteren asked Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette how quickly the high court could deal with the decision.

“You know, Greta, this could be done quickly, maybe 60 days. I think the important thing about judge Vinson's ruling is that he read the Constitution. And this is a great victory for the defenders of the Constitution, and it protects taxpayers,” Schuette said. “And it's a very direct constitutional message, and that is that Congress does not have unlimited powers. It's not some pathway to expand the federal government at the expense of the states. And it says, Hey, settle down, federal government. States have responsibilities.”

Van Susteren asked Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne whether his state needs to wait for the Supreme Court or just move forward.

“Greta, I think that we have to wait for the Supreme Court to rule. What's really important about today's ruling is that it is so well reasoned,” Horne said, urging Van Susteren’s listeners to read the decision.

“It gives a history of the commerce clause, which the federal government has used to justify this action, about how when it was first passed, it was intended only to regulate trade between the states,” he said . “Then it was expanded to include action within a state that had a substantial effect on interstate commerce, like manufacturing or agriculture, but that nobody ever expected that the power to regulate commerce would extend to someone's decision not to buy insurance.

“That's a stretch too far, and I think the court gave a very good history of the commerce clause and very good reasoning that will persuade the Supreme Court.”

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