13 state AGs suing feds, say health care bill unconstitutional

An artistic photograph of the Bill of Rights. The Constitutionality of health care reform – which 13 states are currently questioning, with more to follow – may come down to how the Supreme Court interprets specific and implied powers as they relate to the Bill of Rights, the 10th Amendment and the 14th Amendment.

The Bill of Rights may play a role in the "War of Constitutionality" for health care reform. (Photo: Picasa)

President Obama has signed the overhauled health care reform bill into law, but not everyone is happy. Thirteen state Attorneys General (12 Republicans and one Democrat) are now in the process of suing the federal government in order to stop the health care reform wave, claiming that it is unconstitutional in its current form. They wonder what kind of tax resolution the Fed will devise to pay for it all, among other things. Their suit targets U.S. Departments of Health, Human Services, Treasury and Labor, according to the Associated Press.

Florida AG Bill McCollum leading charge against health care reform

Other state Attorneys General against health care reform include those from South Carolina, Nebraska, Texas, Michigan, Utah, Pennsylvania, Alabama, South Dakota, Louisiana, Idaho, Washington and Colorado. More states are expected to follow suit, including Virginia, whose AG Ken Cuccinelli said he will file suit “as soon as the ink is dry” from President Obama’s signature on the bill. Various sources speculate that as many as 37 states will also sue the federal government over this health care bill (now health care law).

Why they consider new health care reform unconstitutional

There are several reasons — with the linchpin being whether the 14th Amendment conflicts with the 10th Amendment — that the AGs are saying the new law may actually be unconstitutional. However, constitutional experts don’t completely agree on this. Here’s an interesting blueprint for just how health care reform may be contested, as presented by one informed reader on a Yahoo! Answers board.

  1. Thirty-seven states (the two-thirds required to call for a Constitutional Convention) would have to utilize the rights granted by Article 5 of the U.S. Constitution. Three-quarters of those involved would be necessary to approve a new Constitutional amendment.
  2. Use the Recall Amendment (http://lugar.senate.gov/services/pdf_crs/Recall_of_Legislators_and_the_Removal_of_Members_of_Congress_from_Office.pdf) to “recall any member of the House of Representatives or the Senate according to rules however that state’s legislature deems fit.” Citizens can enact their own recall petitions, too.
  3. Look to impose term limits against more than just the president. The 22nd Amendment only applies to the Commander-in-Chief.
  4. Is enacting health care reform a specific power outlined in Article 1 section 8 of the Constitution? If not, the argument is that it would be an implied power, and that a majority of states must agree. Here’s where the 10th Amendment comes in with a “largely ignored” provision: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
  5. Does the Incorporation clause of the 14th Amendment violate the States’ rights provision granted by the 10th Amendment? If so, the U.S. Constitution couldn’t be “used by the Federal Government to usurp power from the States.” Anything that is not a specifically stated power would be more of a “culture wars” issue – a state issue.

Personal Money Store is not your Constitutional Law source

In actuality, Personal Money Store is your source for easy cash loans, not lawyers or Constitutional scholars. But interesting arguments exist that the 13 states suing the federal government – as well as others that join – could use to justify their stance against health care reform.

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