Posts Tagged - ‘supreme court’

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Virginia Judge To Rule on Health Insurance Mandate on New Year’s Day

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Image: USA Today

Those hoping for a quick resolution to the lawsuits seeking to overturn a portion of the Obama administration’s healthcare reform law are out of luck. At least one of the suits–the one filed by Virginia–will take longer to resolve. According to U.S. District Court Judge Henry E. Hudson, he will rule on whether the affordable health insurance mandate provision is constitutional on January 1st.

If Hudson determines that the state’s Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II has a case for the federal government overstepping its boundaries, the challenge will be one step closer to the Supreme Court. Since Virginia has its own specific law forbidding anyone from mandating that its residents purchase health insurance, it filed a lawsuit separate from the class action joined by over 20 states.

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Is There Precedent To Uphold Healthcare Reform?

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Image: BAR Photography under CC 3.0

One of the main arguments against the legality of healthcare reform is the contention that it is unconstitutional. Many opponents believe that the individual health insurance mandate, in particular, violates the 10th Amendment. That amendment says that all rights not specifically given to the federal government in the Constitution or its amendments are left to each state.

However, a competing interpretation–accepted by some conservative justices, no less–states that at times, the national government can exercise powers not expressly mentioned in the document. A recent Supreme Court decision (approved by seven out of the nine members) upheld the federal government’s right to indefinitely detain sex offenders after serving their sentences. Surely, the specifics of ankle monitoring or house arrest for child molesters and others were not on the founding fathers’ minds.

Granted, U.S. vs. Comstock is relatively less controversial an issue than affordable health insurance reform. Still, it’s a sign that the highest court is willing to consider the application of the “elastic clause”, which states that the federal government is allowed to pass laws to help it execute the powers it was expressly given.

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Justice: We’ll See Healthcare Bill In Court

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Image: angela n. under CC 3.0

During a congressional panel, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer predicted that affordable health insurance reform–specifically the individual mandate provision–will reach the highest judicial decision makers. He didn’t discuss the merits or lack thereof of the lawsuit mounted by a growing number of Republican attorneys general. Breyer is actually one of the more liberal justices, and would most likely vote to uphold the law.

Instead, Breyer said that any major federal legislation should be reviewed by the highest court. Questions about whether the requirement to buy a health insurance plan is unconstitutional are what the Supreme Court was made for. It will probably take awhile for the lawsuit to make its way through the legal system, though.

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Some States Plan to Sue Over Health Care Bill

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

President Obama has signed the healthcare overahaul, but another hurdle lies ahead for it– litigation. Attorneys general in at least 12 states are preparing to challenge its constitutionality. One of them is Ken Cuccinelli, whose attorney general of Virginia.

Cuccinelli says the General Assembly of Virginia this year passed a statute that protects Virginia citizens from being mandated to buy health insurance. It passed on a bipartisan basis. And, of course, the federal health-care bill has a mandate to do just that. There’s a conflict between those laws. And while normally the supremacy clause leaves federal laws trumping, not when they are unconstitutional. And it is our position that the individual mandate is unconstitutionally overbroad under the commerce clause, that the Congress doesn’t have the power to impose this on individuals.

Experts believe it will be very unlikely for the Supreme Court to vote in favor of States because there are already mandates from Washington that we have to comply with medical insurance would just add another law to the list.

Cuccinelli and others argue those mandates are taxes and the healthcare penalty is a fine. They believe you can’t force people to buy a product from another.

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