March 19th, 2010
03:01 PM ET
4 years ago

Two state attorneys general ready to file lawsuit on health care

McMaster told CNN he will file a lawsuit quickly, if the bill is passed.
McMaster told CNN he will file a lawsuit quickly, if the bill is passed.

(CNN) - Should the Democrats' health care reform bill make it to President Obama's desk, at least two Republican state attorneys general are prepared to file a lawsuit challenging its constitutionality.

South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster told CNN he and Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum are ready to take issue with a controversial provision known as "the cornhusker kickback" that exempted the state of Nebraska from paying for Medicare costs and with another provision that mandates all Americans buy health insurance.

The provision giving special treatment to Nebraska was not included in the House bill unveiled Thursday but the legislation must be returned to the Senate before final passage. Democratic leaders have vowed that provision is dead but thirteen other attorney generals in addition to McMaster and McCollum have already signed on to the plan to file a lawsuit if the so-called "cornhusker kickback" is included in any final version of the bill signed by Obama.

But even if that controversial provision is removed, McMaster and McCollum say the bill's individual mandate provision is an unconstitutional encroachment on state authority as protected by the 10th Amendment - the part of the Constitution that provides all powers not explicitly granted to the federal government continue to remain with the states.

"The individual mandate is unconstitutional and a violation of state sovereignty and individual liberty," McMaster told CNN. "This is the most egregious, unconstitutional legislation that we can remember."

But proponents of the legislation maintain it is clearly constitutional under the federal government's constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce - a power the Supreme Court has long said provides Congress with wide discretion to pass legislation in areas not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution.

But McMaster says this bill is a clear departure from what the Supreme Court has said was permissible in the past because, instead of regulating a pre-existing purchase, the health care bill requires individuals to make a purchase of insurance coverage.

"If you choose to get into interstate commerce, the Congress can regulate it," he said. "But here, the difference is that this is requiring folks to get into interstate commerce by buying insurance. That's blatantly unconstitutional I believe."

While McMaster and McCollum are seeking their states' respective GOP gubernatorial nominations, McMaster says their lawsuit has nothing to do with politics.

"We are motivated by the law, according to the constitution," McMaster said.


Filed under: Bill McCollum • Health care • Henry McMaster • Popular Posts
soundoff (299 Responses)
  1. Dar

    Glad to see someone has balls to stand up for us. It sure isnt Odumbo and all his back door deals.

    March 19, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  2. Izzy

    "But proponents of the legislation maintain it is clearly constitutional under the federal government's constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce – a power the Supreme Court has long said provides Congress with wide discretion to pass legislation in areas not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution."

    Look it up–Article 3...

    Federal law always supersedes state law and, since Congress determines what the law is to begin with by passing laws there is no way to seriously claim the proposal is against the law.

    Since the Founding Fathers foresaw the need for Congress to pass more laws after the drafting of the Constitution, they made sure there was that "elastic clause" in the original document. For over 200 years, invocation of that clause, a part of the Constitution, has been ruled to be Constitutional.

    March 19, 2010 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  3. Liberal wingnut

    If the GOP was trying this the media would be crying foul.

    March 19, 2010 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  4. rdepontb

    What's with these Republicans? Can't they find a better way to use their brains and resources than to pick on the American public all the time? Talk about a sense of undeserved entitlement-they want anything and everything having to do with President Obama to be dead in the water, not matter the consequences.

    Are they that revolted by what they let Bush/Cheney foister upon them that they are so over-reacting to Dems?

    March 19, 2010 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  5. stop the nonsense

    What is it about Republican leaders?
    These two attorney Generals are trying to capitalize on something that DOES NOT EXIST!

    March 19, 2010 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  6. jane

    More loud "moaning and groaning and gnashing of teeth" from the poor Republicans in the couple days they have left. The only thing that keep their hysterical clamor from being hilarious is that they truly are a threat to so many of our citizens who do not get adequate preventive screening or treatment. Many literally live in fear of health problems, knowing they could lose eveything if they have to be hospitalized, and of course, many of them do.

    If Republicans ever showed their true colors, it has been over this issue of desperately needed health care reform

    March 19, 2010 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  7. SANDRA

    these teaparties people will do and say any thing to stop the country from moving into the new world order . as long as they are part of these united states of america the federal government call the shots. i mean really these are the same Ahoes who says president obama is an american citizen or demand his birth certicate the birthes . wow the crazies are out to lunch the head clown has went off the rallies he is inciting these half nutcases and worse the KKK KLAN

    March 19, 2010 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  8. stop the nonsense

    What is it about Republican leaders?
    These two attorney Generals are trying to capitalize on something that DOES NOT EXIST!
    The bill presented does not include that deal, so other than gradstanding , why are they wasting press and court time?

    March 19, 2010 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  9. Tommy P

    Thanks repubs. I'm sure the thousands who will die with no insurance should this bill fail will be pleased.

    March 19, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  10. Wes

    Nothing to do with politics? Really.....Really.....They just happen to be seeking GOP gubernatorial nominations and politics has nothing to do with it...Really....What a bunch of______.

    March 19, 2010 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  11. Jim

    Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution states that Congress has the power to privide for the general welfare of the United States. In 1937 the Supreme Court ruled that the Social Security Act was Constitutional pursuant to Article 1 Section 8 (Helvering v. Davis). Article 1 Section 8 is broad enough to include health care reform.

    March 19, 2010 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  12. Most Republicans - Wrong about everything, Wrong for America (and GW Bush was the worst President ever)

    Good. It shouldn't be included.

    March 19, 2010 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  13. wally

    McMaster and McCollum not motivated by politics? Yeah right...

    March 19, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  14. Stacey

    LOL!! The GOP is so desperate! How pathetic. Come on, Mrs. Pelosi, get the votes you need to pass health care reform. Can't wait until Sunday afternoon!

    March 19, 2010 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  15. Judi

    Do you think that they want to sue now because of the conservative Supreme Court that we now have? It makes sense to try this knowing that our Supreme court is just as political as the other branches of government now.

    March 19, 2010 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  16. AEJ

    Mr. Henry McMaster was it unconstitutional when Bush/Cheney overspent on two wars when they were the leaders? Get real. STOP FIGHTING POOR PEOPLE WHO ARE SET TO GET HELP NOW!!
    You are as dark as "night".

    March 19, 2010 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  17. L for Legend

    What a waste of time and energy. The SC AG ought to spend his efforts busting the governor who betrayed the people of his state. Dang, they ought to stop their backward thinking. BTW, he might also want to put the state's financial resources (what little they have) into their schools and infrastructure.

    March 19, 2010 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  18. hobart

    Why do Republicans hate America?

    March 19, 2010 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  19. Dean

    While I don't like the mandate for insurance, Overall it has a lot of good things in it and needs to be passed. But I love seeing all the Republicans working themselfs into a frenze over this

    March 19, 2010 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  20. Independent_me

    Isn't it AMAZING that the family values Party is the most ardent foe of a measure that would help and protect America's families, both the born and the unborn????

    They should be leading the charge for health care reform – instead they are stopping at nothing to defeat it.

    Wake up, America! Don't be fooled by wolves in sheep's clothing!

    March 19, 2010 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  21. Al, CA

    Why Bush-the-son, Cheney and Rumsfeld are not in prison yet?

    March 19, 2010 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  22. Richard

    Why don't they sue the Bush administration for lying to the american public regarding the WMDs, where are they? I can't believe that these idiots are fighting against something that will actually help americans. OMG the government is taking my money to help americans but wait a minute is my money going to help Iraqis and the rest of the world, thats ok right?

    March 19, 2010 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  23. K

    I beginning to beleive these Repugs will burn their mother if they feel they can derail anything this President bring forward to help all Americans, just so they can maintain their preceive old southern white beliefs. Looks like a lot of them will have to visit their Social Medical Doctors to get their blood pressure check after this bill pass for which the majority of Americans will rewards those who put whats best for all american first.

    March 19, 2010 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  24. gary

    These two clowns are just pandering to voters. Anyone who has paid attention knows that the House can't pull out this item from the Senate bill. They have to pass it as it is. However, in subsequent votes both the House and the Senate can cut and change things. This is exactly the plan that Democrats have put in place.

    March 19, 2010 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  25. aklogic

    Hold the line men commies are coming over the top!

    March 19, 2010 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
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