Holder: DOJ to respond 'appropriately' to judges' questions about health care law
April 4th, 2012
04:53 PM ET
8 years ago

Holder: DOJ to respond 'appropriately' to judges' questions about health care law

Washington (CNN) - The Justice Department is scrambling to meet a federal court's Thursday deadline to answer fundamental constitutional questions dealing with the health care law championed by President Barack Obama, an escalating political battle that has embroiled all three branches of government.

Administration officials said Wednesday they were deciding how to respond to an order from a three-judge appeals panel hearing a separate challenge to the Affordable Care Act. Department lawyers were told to explain whether federal courts could intervene and strike down congressional laws as unconstitutional. Such a power has been guaranteed since the Supreme Court's landmark 1803 ruling in Marbury v. Madison.


Filed under: Eric Holder • Supreme Court
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Larry L

    The real issue is about healthcare and this legal ploy is nothing more than a political move funded by big HMOs, Insurance, and Pharmaceuticals. The right-wing offers only "free-market" solutions...

    Healthcare insurance and services can never be well-regulated by a free market. If given the choice between the bottom-line and the best healthcare, corporate leaders will take profits every time. In a typical free market poor products drive consumers to other choices and as a result the better products emerge with higher percentages of market share. Generally, anybody with the money to buy the product may do so, with nobody rejected as an "unfit" buyer. Healthcare insurance isn't really an option and the cost of premiums is high because the cost of services is sky high. People with poor care die.

    Insurance companies must either receive premiums from a large and predominately healthy population (hence the "mandate"), or they must charge prohibitively large premiums from the population at high risk. The cost of care for the uninsured must be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices. Nothing is free. Obamacare is an attempt to solve these problems – but the program falls short because it lacks a single payer option and doesn't reward enough for preventive medicine measures. These aspects of the program were and are impossible in our hostile political environment. Republicans see healthcare as an opportunity to discredit the President in an election cycle – period. If our activist right-wing Supreme Court throws out the mandate to require healthcare insurance, the same questions remain unanswered and Republicans will be challanged to do something beyond obstructive acts. These questions must be answered in a Republican plan – should they ever offer anything to solve the problems:

    1. Who will pay for the uninsured?
    2. How can companies afford to accept people with pre-existing conditions – very expensive conditions!
    3. How can companies offer policies with no cap on annual or lifetime payments when expenses run into the millions?
    4. How can the companies NOT charge very high rates for smokers, obese customers, or people with a genetic propensity for illness?
    5. How do you reduce the costs of services when procedure-based (more services & tests) medical care is the path to profits?

    These questions aren't going away and like in every first-tier nation, the solution is a government regulated healthcare insurance system. We pretend other nations don't provide quality healthcare with their systems but that's incorrect. Healthcare in Canada, Germany, Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, are examples of successful programs. It's no more "socialism" than Medicare, Social Security, or even the federal highway sysytem. It's simply something our federal government needs to provide.

    April 4, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    "The three judges are Republican appointees from the 5th Circuit U-S Court of Appeals, meeting in Houston"

    'Nuff said. That the judge who threw a temper tantrum used the word "Obamacare" at all is indicative of the conservatives' willingness and intention to legislate from the bench for political purposes.

    April 4, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  3. Dominican mama 4 Obama (the real one)

    he was referring to, of course, Obamacare - to what he termed
    Why is a JUDGE involved in this litigation even referring to the ACA, of the Healthcare Reform as OBAMACARE. It is too laughable how quickly, easily, and subconsciously they show which side of the fence they are "IMPARTIALLY" on, isn't it? Well maybe not "ha-ha" funny, but "funny" nonetheless.
    These so-called pinnacles of impartiality may want to start out calling the law by it's proper name before they go around demanding crap from the President.
    The President had every right to voice HIS opinion on the subject. God knows everyone else with wayyyy less knowledge and broccoli is doing the same.

    April 4, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  4. Dominican mama 4 Obama (the real one)

    I mean to write: " or the Healthcare Reform". Pardon me.

    April 4, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama (the real one)

    Sniffit great minds think alike I see.

    April 4, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  6. kat

    Holder is about as wicked as they get.

    April 4, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  7. The REAL Truth

    @Larry L – you hit the nail on the head, sir!
    In the "western" world, we are ranked 29th in healthcare quality and FIRST in COST! We have the most expensive system (and getting more so). If we have *for PROFIT* healthcare, then it should be regulated like the utilities are/were.
    Insurance is NOT the solution, but the *free market* folks do not understand that healthcare is NOT like walking into a grocery store and buying broccoli. It's like the *greeter* telling you can't come in and have any of my stores broccoli, perhaps you can find some at the store across town!

    April 4, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    "Dominican mama 4 Obama (the real one)

    Sniffit great minds think alike I see."


    I am beaming my thoughts out to the nation and into your brains with a very very special tinfoil hat.

    April 4, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  9. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Republican partisan judges and justices are as wicked as it gets.

    April 4, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  10. CanadaONE

    Hard to imagine that american judges will turn their back on the health care of ordinary people – if they do the judges need to be charged with attempted murder – in you can't charge them in the US – we will do it Canada and send the results of the trial to the UN Council to lay further charges under "endangering human life" – we will make sure their names are broadcast AROUND THE WORLD !!



    April 4, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  11. Another Day in the Idiot Mines

    I was willing to give the judges the benefit of the doubt until I read one of them used the term "Obamacare." To deliberately refuse to use the proper name (Affordable Care Act) they showed they are partisan and unprofessional. Sounds like Houston has a problem.....with activist judges playing politics instead of doing their jobs.

    April 4, 2012 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  12. J.V.Hodgson

    If I were the Justice department and MR Holder my reply would be short and sweet to these three Justices.If it pleases the court.
    1) You are the appointed officials to decide the case in front of you on the facts as presented and the merits of the case in accordance with said eveidence as presented and existing laws and precedents. Please, therefore proceed accordingly.
    2) SCOTUS has already previously held that it (SCOTUS) may overturn certain parts of laws passed the congress, House and Senate. If you feel legal precedents grant that right to your lower court or you wish to establish that as precedent, or create another item for the Supreme court to consider by your decision it is your right. AS US attornety general I may or may not appeal your decision to the SCOTUS
    3) Neither this department or myself will answer your question in the terms asked as it may interfere with the indepoendence of your court and the indeoence you have to judge for yourselves.
    That said the President has the right to his freedom of speech if you feel that impoinges on your indepence this department begs to differ if The presidents freedom of speech you consuder has impinged on some law , then please lay those charges against the president or ask him to respond directly with the specific law that demands he or This department must reply to you on amatter under you jurisdiction, at this time not mine or his.
    If it please the court do your job make your decision. the SCOtus has already defined the challenges it will consider . if you judicial decision expands that itd for SCOTUS to rule on that not me Or the president.
    Regards and sincerely.


    April 4, 2012 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  13. love canada!

    Its not so hard to imagine, they work for the party that gets them nominated, not the American people. They rarely have to deal with the extreme costs the normal American will experience, let alone the lack of coverage that bankrupts or leads to lifelong poverty. Not to mention suffering poor health that will certainly prevent them from living a productive life.
    But go ahead, I would love to see global recognition lifethe crimes our supreme court is about to commit. Not that this plan is perfect, but it is a clear path to radically change the problems of an unfair system that affects us all.

    April 4, 2012 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  14. Trying to act Republican

    Larry, please allow me to answer your questions Republican-style:
    1. Who will pay for the uninsured?

    No one. They'll have to depend on nonprofits and charities. If you can't pay, no insurance for you. Every person for themself and themself only.

    2. How can companies afford to accept people with pre-existing conditions – very expensive conditions!

    They won't. They're a private business and are there to make a profit. If you can't pay, they have the right to turn you away. See #1.

    3. How can companies offer policies with no cap on annual or lifetime payments when expenses run into the millions?

    See #1. The insurance and services continue until the money stops. The debt will be paid one way or another, whether by you or your heirs.

    4. How can the companies NOT charge very high rates for smokers, obese customers, or people with a genetic propensity for illness?

    Because there's more of those, so the costs get spread around. They'll charge what people can pay.

    5. How do you reduce the costs of services when procedure-based (more services & tests) medical care is the path to profits?

    With the free market, of course. By going across state lines for insurance. By deregulating the pharmaceutical and services market, thus bringing down costs by eliminating all that time and money spent on meeting gov't standards. Or, simply put, by allowing the burden to fall onto the non-profits and charities. If people can't take care of themselves, they should seek family help. Lacking that...well, guess God didn't intend for you to live that long.

    April 4, 2012 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  15. Living in the REAL world

    Well, this is what happens when Obama directly challenges the Constitutional duty of the US Supreme Court. I am seriously beginning to doubt Obama's credentials as a "constitutional law attorney". I am also seriously doubting he believes in the oath he swore when he took office:

    I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

    He is beginning to sound like he doesn't care what the Constitution says and thinks he can do anything he wants to whoever he wants to do it to. He is starting to act and speak dangerously.

    April 4, 2012 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  16. PaulSupporter

    Access to affordable Healthcare is not a granted right and never has been. The judicial system is doing its job in protecting the constitution and the citizens from government overreach. You want socialized healthcare, move to Canada and pay $10/gallon for gas and be put on a 3year month waiting list for heart surgery. There is a reason Canadian nurses are coming to the US in droves to work.

    April 4, 2012 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  17. ThePoint

    Is the individual mandate constitutional? Thats the issue, forcing Americans to buy insurance.

    April 4, 2012 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  18. Ed1

    How about this King Obama and Prince Holder stay out of the Supreme Court and just stop trying to find ways to spend our tax dollars we don't have.

    Obamacare has doubled in cost from 900 billion to 1.8 trillion we could insure everyone in the United States for that price.

    I am sick and tired of our government spending my tax dollars as we go deeper in debt. This whole bill was rushed thru both houses while the Dems still had control before anyone even read the bill. I see the federal Government, unions, and some States don't have to use it and that's called pay back for their vote to pass the bill.

    April 4, 2012 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  19. BostonianNThe WoodlandsTx

    Being a Boston native living in Texas......while I can say there are some nice people here,most have foregone using their god-given brain and put it on GOP autopilot regarding the ACA.

    It's ashame because this state is a joke when it comes to the uninsured.

    An even bigger joke when it comes to the political spectrum.

    Larry L.....STOP ! You're making too much sense !

    But some conservatives won't let things such as facts get in the way weill they ?

    April 4, 2012 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  20. gg

    if some one without health insurance needs care who pays–taxe payers thats not fair–no insurance no care -you make your own choices in life -no insurance no care

    April 4, 2012 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  21. GOP = Greed Over People

    Any time a "impartial" judge calls the legislation "Obama care" in stead of the parties involved such a Bush v. Gore, it shows his bias and proves he is an activist judge just waiting to legislate from the bench.

    April 4, 2012 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |