Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Justice Department Responds to Legal Attack on Health Reform

The Obama administration late Tuesday filed a response to one of the first lawsuits against the new health overhaul, "saying it was constitutional and any challenge was premature," Reuters reports.

The argument by the Justice Department was in response to a lawsuit filed by the conservative Thomas More Law Center in Michigan on March 23 – the day Obama signed the new law. The group argued a "provision requiring most Americans to buy health insurance under threat of financial penalty was beyond the scope of Congress' power and was an unconstitutional tax. … The group also said it violated their constitutional rights because federal tax dollars would be used to fund abortions" (Pelofsky, 5/12).

Associated Press: "In response, the Justice Department says the Constitution grants Congress the authority to regulate commerce and that this broad grant of power is not limited to the direct regulation of interstate commerce. … Congress also may regulate activities that substantially affect interstate commerce and 'a court may not second-guess the factual record upon which Congress relied' in writing the legislation, the Obama administration argued" (Yost, 5/12).

Main Justice: "Justice Department lawyers argue that the Thomas More Law Center in Michigan has no standing to challenge the law because the provision at issue — the individual mandate — does not take effect until 2014." Thirty-three states also are trying to block the individual mandate on American citizens to purchase health insurance (Reilly, 5/12).

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