News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Breaking News

Flashpoint

March 24, 2012

FLASHPOINT: The Constitutional challenge to the Affordable Care Act

INDIANAPOLIS — On March 26, the United States Supreme Court will begin three days of hearings with six hours of oral argument on the constitutional challenge filed by Indiana and 25 other states against certain sections of the federal health care law: the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often referred to as “Obamacare.” This historic lawsuit will explore the limits of the power of Congress under the U.S. Constitution.

There has been remarkable public interest in the landmark legislation and the legal challenge that has ensued, and Hoosiers have raised fundamental questions regarding the proper role of the federal government. As Indiana Attorney General, I have an obligation to defend state statutes passed by the Indiana General Assembly from legal challenges; but here I have taken the unusual step of challenging a federal statute. The people of Indiana deserve an explanation of why the challenge has been necessary.

Most of the public attention on the case has centered on the “individual mandate,” by which Congress for the first time in our nation’s history required that almost everyone in the United States purchase a commercial product: private health insurance. This mandate exceeds Congress’ powers under the Constitution, and if left unchecked it will be enforced in 2014 with a $685 fine on the federal tax form of each noncompliant taxpayer. It has been found unconstitutional by the Federal District Court and 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in the case the 26 states brought.

The plaintiff states also argue that Congress’ geometric expansion of Medicaid coerces states into enforcing federal policy in violation of the Tenth Amendment. These issues required Indiana to join the challenge since they threaten to redefine federalism — the distribution of powers between the federal and state governments — long into the future.

I admit to a bias in favor of states’ authority, as might be inferred from my role representing Indiana. But even when I worked in the federal government, my views always favored individual liberty and limits on federal power and the defense of state prerogatives. In providing limited, enumerated powers to a federal government, our nation’s Founders had grave concerns that a central government would assume greater authority at the expense of individual liberty and state sovereignty. They concluded individual liberty was better preserved by allocating the bulk of government power to smaller institutions closer to the people: states.

In its legal defense of the Affordable Care Act in the lawsuit, the federal government thus far has failed to satisfy the federal courts that it has stayed within its constitutional limitations. Some defend the Affordable Care Act based on the acute need to reform our health care system. Some kind of health insurance reform surely is needed, but invoking the plight of the uninsured misses the point of why I joined in the legal challenge. No matter how great the need for reform, we must respect the constitutional limits of federal power, if our liberty as Americans is to endure for future generations.

While it is not my role to determine the constitutionality of the federal statute, it is my role to raise the question so that the Supreme Court can make that determination with finality. And the Court’s decision-making process will begin during three historic days in March.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Flashpoint
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Joy Fills Streets of Cleveland As LeBron Returns Robot Writes Jewish Torah Scroll Israel Deploys Ground Troops to Gaza Strip Bull Run Comes to Middle America Raw: Divers, Snorkelers at Undersea 'Concert' Space Station Shipment Launched From Virginia Wisconsin Cop Ready to Roll...On Skateboard Lightning Kills Two in National Park in Colorado Raw: Stunning Timelapse of WC Final Host City Giant Whale Vacuumed in New York City One Dead, 19 Injured in Greyhound Bus Crash Diaz and Segel Strip Off for 'Sex Tape' Texas Shooting Suspect Collapses in Court Ana Ortiz on 'Devious Maids' Finale Raw: German Players Head to World Cup Final LeBron: Move Back to Cleveland 'Exciting' WH: LeBron's Move a 'Powerful Statement' Proposed Bill to Regulate NY Costumed Characters Raw: Australia Hosts Annual Beer Can Regatta Soft Robot Fish Lead New Wave of Robotics
NDN Video
Germany Wins The 2014 FIFA World Cup!!! RAW VIDEO: Stampede injures ten at Georgia World Congress Center Cellphone Video Shows Assault Tracy Morgan released from rehab month after crash LeBron: Move Back to Cleveland 'Exciting' Cleveland welcomes home LeBron Houston Killer Collapses in Court When Read Capital Murder Charges for Allegedly Killing Family of Six Worst Valet Ever Wrecks $500K Lamborghini Glee Star Becca Tobin's Boyfriend Matt Bendik Found Dead in Hotel Aerial fish restocking in Utah ScarJo Channels Marilyn Monroe Obama Responds to Hecklers on Immigration Tiny Hamsters Who Ate Burritos are Back for a Tiny Hedgehog's Party Watch Kelly Ripa Get Soaked! 'Referee' Hands Out Yellow Cards for Social Faux Pas in NYC 2014 Emmy Nominees: 8 Snub Shockers Emma Watson Is Va-Va-Voom in Valentino 7 Infamous Sports Blowouts Argentina tops Holland in World Cup semifinals News flush: Japanese toilet exhibition making a splash
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity