Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said she was disappointed by Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare but gratified that the justices affirmed the key argument opponents made that the law’s mandate that Americans have insurance violates the Constitution.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax, Bondi also said the ruling is evidence that proponents of the healthcare law lied to the nation, noting the justices determined it amounts to a tax – despite President Barack Obama’s insistence that it is not.
Watch the exclusive video below.
Bondi, whose office argued the case before the Supreme Court along with the attorneys general of 25 other states, suggested the decision will energize the Republican base and drive voters to the polls in November to elect presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, whom she has endorse.
“Of course, overall we’re completely disappointed with the ruling,” she told Newsmax. “But you know we have to remember that one thing we’ve learned, that we’ve been saying all along, is that there are enforceable limits on Congress’s power under the [Constitution’s] Commerce Clause.”
She noted the court ruled Obamacare amounts to a new tax, so it does not violate federal restrictions on Congress to control commerce – a point made by Bondi and other opponents and backed by Supreme Court Justice John Roberts in his majority opinion.
“The federal government does not have the power to order people to buy health insurance,” Bondi said. “And I have said all along, from day one that this is so much bigger than health insurance. If they could force us to do this under the commerce laws, they could force us to do anything.”
Although opponents won that legal argument, she said she’s disappointed the court upheld the main provisions of the law. She also took aim at Obama and the law’s supporters for not being honest about the law’s tax implications, which the high court made clear in its ruling.
“We fought for the principals of the Constitution [limiting] Congress’s powers to direct lives of people and we won on that point,” she noted. “But the thing that to me really is the most sobering is that we learned that our …system of government only works when our leaders are honest with the American people because the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that this is a tax.”
She also said she was gratified the court overturned Obamacare’s provisions requiring states to expand Medicaid – “another win for us.” Bondi added that she and Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who had refused to implement the federal law pending the high court’s decision, will “respect the Supreme Court” and “comply with the law” in the Sunshine State.
“We’ll be working with the governor and we’ll be working with the Legislature… we will comply with the law, absolutely,” she said.
“But this now has become political because we have a president who clearly misled the American people...The most sobering point today is truly that this case [shows] the Constitution’s limits on government power didn’t fail; political accountability failed. Our president failed because we had a president and his supporters who were not straight up with the American people. They told the American people this was not a tax, this was never a tax. And of course it was a tax.”
She predicted the court ruling will bolster support for Romney, who has vowed to repeal the law, if elected.
“I think the American people will have their say in November. And I’m confident they’re going to join me in rejecting a law that is harmful to individual liberty, our economy and the welfare of our people and elect Mitt Romney,” she added. “I think this election has now become the most important in our history and Mitt Romney has got to become president.”
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